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Arlo & Pips King of the Birds -- Graphic Novel Fun

Title: Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds

Author/Illustrator: Elise Gravel

Publisher: Harper Alley, 2020

For ages: 4 - 10

Themes: Crows, Friendship, Trash

Opening Panels:

On the highest mountains

and the greenest prairies,

in the biggest cities

and the deepest forests,

in the whole universe

no bird is greater than . . .

It's Arlo! Arlo the crow and his new friend Pips a little yellow bird.

Arlo says he's the king of the feathered world. Pips has doubts and asks a lot of questions. The truth is, Crows are amazing birds, but they have a few flaws. This adorable story shares crow facts, a story about friendship, and a commentary on those messy humans who don't know how to use a garbage can.

I am a fan of books that mix facts with fiction. I find it a wonderful way to excites the readers mind and curiosity.

The simple illustrations are bright and easy for kids to recreate on their own. Yet, their simplicity does not take away from showing emotions and setting scenes.

I love that this is a story with pictures that a child can read on their own. There are many picture books with simple language, but for the most part those were written for the very young. There are also picture books with complex language and they are meant to be read out load and shared. (I am a great believer that picture books can be read at all ages. During a year as a library assistant at an elementary school, I read picture books, fiction and non-fiction every week to every class Grades K-5.)

I think it would be difficult to read a graphic novel to a class of kids. Mainly because the books are pretty small and the images can be quite complex so kids would miss out on some of the things going on in a class read-aloud setting, but . . . they are wonderful for readers who love words and images to tell a story. Graphic novels provide visual learning as well as providing images that help a child build language skills while they read. Learning to read isn't just being able to sound out the words, it's also about gaining comprehension of new words in context with ideas and stories. What better way to build reading comprehension than to combine imagery with words?

Resources and Activities:

* Check out Elise's Website.

* Learn more about Crows.

* Learn even more about Crows.

* Become a Bird Citizen Scientist with eBird I love this program and app. The biggest problem is that I can sit and watch our bird feeders all day. But, I have found that even my short stints of counting birds has helped me learn about new birds, notice which birds are around at what time of year, notice how the seasons are changing.

* Make a one page comic about two characters.

* Draw your own Arlo & Pips.

* Read more graphic novels.

You can order a copy from, Amazon, or your local Indie bookstore.

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