Diamond Bookshelf: Katie's Korner - Graphic Novel Reviews for Schools and Libraries
Monster Elementary Volume 1
Created by: Nicholas Doan & Caanan Grall Publisher: Space Goat Publishing Format: Softcover, 6 x 9, 104 Full Color, $22.99 ISBN: SC: 978-1-94158-189-6
REVIEW Every time I look at the stress list for life’s most stressful events, “moving” always shows up in the top ten, if not the top five. For Desmodus, Lukos, Francesca, Rags, and Gilda, a move to a new, unsafe school is inevitable, which means that their stress levels are already way, way too high. When they get to their new school, however, their initial experience of “moving” stress is put in its place by an even bigger stressor: fitting in! "Hello! We’re monsters!" they all worry. "We can’t go to public school!" Monsters, the kids must not only pretend to be something they are not, humans (thankfully, for the reader because these monsters are pretty darn cool) or “Normies,” but also pretend to be coming of age without being noticed as a monster. Thus, when the FBI ambushes their familiar and safe confines of the monster school, all five of our main, monster characters attend their parents decisions’ to move them to a public school, Kinghaven Elementary, jump-starts each monsters’ stress levels - maybe all the way to the point where they just might act like little monsters. Or, maybe, just maybe, if the monsters can play their cards right they can make the human, public school kids look more like monsters. Either way, an identity battle perfect for early to middle level, coming-of-age readers themselves, Monster Elementary is ready to go for educators and readers in grades 3-7. ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS ELEMENTS OF STORY
Plot: Forced from behind the shadows of their monstrously safe school, a group of young monsters are forced by the FBI’s interference to go to public school, charged with not only growing up safely and without being embarrassed, but also pretending to be just a regular, normal kid without every single monster-identifying trait that concern some of their new classmates and school faculty. Major Characters: Desmodus, Lukos, Gilda, Francesca, Rags, Franklin, Joy, the Principal of Kinghaven Elementary, teachers, parents, Minerva, Demon Boy, Dolls Major Settings: Monster Elementary school, Kinghaven Elementary, bus stop, playground, various kid/monster homes, the sidewalk, the zoo Themes: Differences, Adoption, Fitting In, Growing Up/Coming of Age READING RECOMMENDATIONS USING THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS FOR YOUNG ADULT READERS Craft and Structure: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor. *The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org) LESSON IDEA FOR YOUNG ADULT READERS Directions: Use the following mirror-images page to draw two versions of five characters of your choice. The point here is to look at how the authors, illustrators and more behind this graphic novel crafted and structured the point of view of both the monsters and the kids, especially how they see themselves and how the rest of the world (or “normies") see them. That said, choose a character and decide whether or not that character is a kid, a monster, or an adult. On the right side of each mirror-image below draw the monster, kid, or adult as he or she sees him or herself. On the left side of each mirror-image draw how the rest of the world or characters in the story see this character.
Bonus Writing Standard Points: Write a brief profile about the two sides of each character and which one you (the student) finds most interesting and why. Why do the two sides of this character intrigue you the most? What characteristics, attributes, features, sayings, and more inform your choice?