Modern Fantasy


Written and Illustrated by Emily Gravett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Copyright Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 40
Fantasy in literature is not hard to find especially with the bulk of heroine trilogies set in apocalyptic nations. However, modern fantasy is a bit harder to find in picture books. I stumbled across this very funny picture book in my search. Wolves is a specific type of modern fantasy which is called animal fantasy. This specific book is a story about a rabbit who hopes down to the local ‘burrowing’ library to checkout a book on wolves. This book contains all kinds of facts about wolves, and it squashes all the myths about wolves like eating little girls going to  her grandmother’s house. However, as the rabbit reads, he doesn’t realize that the wolves in the book are coming to life and lurking behind. What I love about this book is that is has two endings. Go check it out and see what happens to this curious little bunny.
When I first saw this book,it did not capture my eye. In fact the reason I chose it was because of its genre not is cover art. After opening the book and reading it, I fell in love with the mixed media illustration. You have computerized sketches and hand drawn lined up next to typed fonts and banners. I have seen mixed media go a little over the top, but Emily Gravett seems to find the right balance for this quirky little book. Also as the story progresses and the wolf is following the rabbit,  the wolf’s size changes. This size change adds to the suspense of the book because the sketch of the wolf begins to slowly take up the whole page.
Modern fantasy is a genre that can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. Because most modern fantasies are chapter books, it can be difficult to find activities to match them to younger students. However, I’ve tried to rack my brain for some ideas. This particular picture book can be used in several ways in a K-3 setting. First, I would use this book to introduce the prey/predator concept in  a science unit. For higher grades the idea of carnivore/herbivore would be the center of the science lesson. Second, I would likely read this book when introducing the concept of checking out books from the library. I would take the time for the children to see the picture illustrations of the borrowing card in the back of the book as well as how to take care of the library book. I would contrast the way the rabbit let the wolf demolish the book to proper way to handle library books that the student’s will check out. Finally, I would use this book to teach prediction of endings in the ELA standards. Because in this book, the author offers two endings. I would have the students try to predict the alternative ending to the story before we read it. Overall this is a very versatile modern fantasy picture book.

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