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Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold People

I added Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt to my "someday list" after my friend Joyce raved about it last month. This morning I read it...and reread. Exceptional is the best word to describe it. A graphic novel about the size of a picture book, it is illustrated mostly in monochrome (pencil, color crayon, gouache, ink, watercolor). Hélène is the narrator, and I would guess her to be a girl about 10 or 11 years old. She has no friends and no place to hide from the taunts, stares, messages on walls, and ridicule. She believes the awful things said about her and just wants to be alone (or so she says). The words she chooses to express her feelings are extraordinary: "Even with my creeping vine of an imagination, I'm always taken off guard by the insults she invents. The same thing happens every time - another hole opens up in my rib cage. Hearing everything. Hearing nothing." p. 18

Her only refuge is the copy of Jane Eyre she takes with her everywhere. Intermingled with her story are the incidents fromJane's life that cause to Hélène ponder the words and actions of those around her...her lovely, well-meaning mother, the nasty girls who used to be her friends. Jane's ability to grow up and remain "clever, slender, and wise" draws admiration from Hélène and later helps her to view herself differently. I can say no more, lest I spoil the plot for those who choose to read it. But please add it to your someday list. It is an exceptionally important book.

I will read it again today and bring it to school for my trusted friends there to read tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. My granddaughter is now 12, but she still loves these children's books. I have a wonderful collection of my own that I used while teaching high school kids (theme, characterization, and symbol, etc.) that I should begin to bestow on her. Can't get rid of my Byrd Baylor books, tho!