Friday, January 27, 2012

King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently

Hello good readers.
The Queen here with another daring tell of true imagination adventures as three constructive young children brave dragon invasions and attacks of parental giants. If this book doesn't spark some creative ingenuity, I don't know what will. Read it, then do it, as I always say. Let this book open your mind of playful possibilities and fun.

Happy Reading,
The Queen

Book Title: King Jack and the Dragon
Author: Peter Bently                                                                 
Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Dial (August 18, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Picture book
ISBN: 978-0803736986

Book Theme:
Playtime, friends, using your imagination, family, facing fears.  

Book Summary
A trio of children spends the day playing in their fort, defending it from dragons and beasts, before reality intrudes at nightfall.

Gentle, unassuming rhyme tells the story of Zack, Caspar and King Jack, who make a glorious fort in Jack and Caspar's backyard out of a cardboard box and other tried-and-true materials. The children—preschooler Jack, his toddler brother Caspar and pal Zack—are happy playmates consciously indulging in make-believe. Reality and fantasy merge at the end of the day when "a giant came by and went home with Sir Zack" (a parental hand drags the protesting little boy off) and "another giant came and took Caspar to bed" (he is unceremoniously carried off in the crook of Mommy's arm). Does King Jack have the starch to defend the fort by himself? Who needs starch with a Mommy and Dad like Jack's?"

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
What can you make a castle or fort out of? Let your children pull out those blankets, pillows and other fun items to make an imaginary place to play. Get in there and play along with them. Who knows what adventures you can all have together?

Don't forget, young knights, kings, cowboys and Indians need plenty of nourishment. Bake some special cookie snacks for your young adventurers to nibble on. 

Older Readers:
Do you have closets full of old shoe boxes? Create your own castle, fort or city from them. Our young prince loves creating his own toys and has used up the top of his bed for his castle creation, all the way down to paper warriors.

front view of castle

side/ top view of castle

Crafty Ideas:
Draw pictures of creatures you might battle if you were King. 

Writing Prompts:
Write a story of one of your play times. Describe where your make-believe world was, give setting and what characters were in your play? What battles did you have to face?
Many stories come from people sitting down and imagining.

Authors Arena

Author: Peter Bently
Peter Bently was born in Tidworth and attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied for a BA Hons in Modern Languages. He has two young children and now lives in Devon. (That's somewhere around England. Why don't you grab a world globe or map and see if you can find it?) He has also written several other award-winning picture books, including A Lark in the Ark (Egmont) and Shark in the Dark (Macmillan).

Try Google Maps and see if you can find the town where both Bently and Oxenbury live? Google Maps offers a street view. If you've never been to England, London, or any of those areas, perhaps you can look at the street views and see what their cities are like. Compare them to where you live? Do you see many similarities? What's different? 

Peter Bently finds inspiration for his stories by watching his own children play. What things inspire you? Look around and make a list of things you might can write about.

Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Helen Oxenbury is the renowned illustrator of many classic picture books, including We¹re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. Ms. Oxenbury lives with her husband, illustrator John Burningham, in North London.

You can read this interview with Helen Oxenbury as she discusses the creative process behind her book, There's Going to be a Baby.

Watch the video of Helen Oxenbury discussing how she became an illustrator. It started when she was a child, drawing pictures every day.

Do you enjoy drawing pictures? Do you see creatures and people in your mind and want to sketch what nobody else can see?

Do it!

Don't worry about how good you are at it. Skill comes with practice. Grab a blank sheet of paper, some colors and pencils and have at it. Let your imagination soar. 


Julie Hedlund said...

A book that has a Jack AND a dragon AND illustrated by Helen Oxenbury? Will definitely add this one to my list.

Jackie Castle said...

Hi Julie. When I checked out Helen Oxenbury's work, I fell in love. And I simply can't pass up a book about dragons. Ever.