Friday, February 27, 2015

Winter Reading 2015 The Joker's Dozen

The Joker's Dozen
"You Choose Stories: Batman" is published by Stone Arch Books (Casptone), in cooperation with DC Comics. The reader follows the directions at the bottom of the pages and the choices that are made determine the path of the story. Once the end is reached, the reader may start over and experience a new story by making different choices. The style of the story allows readers to choose which clues Batman will follow or which action he will take. The action is spiced with occasional sound effects (onomatopoeia) in bold print, reminiscent of the comic books that first introduced Batman to the world. The full-color illustrations add to the comic book feel of the story. In The Joker's Dozen, citizens of Gotham are being controlled by the Joker's laughing gas and committing crimes under its influence. Batman must figure out what the Joker is really up to while the police are busy rounding up the citizens used as decoys.

I know there are many adults who express concerns that children read too many comics, graphic novels, and manga titles. Although this is more of an illustrated chapter book, some parents and teachers might still have those same misgivings. They fear that the kids depend too much on the illustrations to derive meaning from the text, but visual literacy is an important skill. Learning to scan for visual clues and to interpret the multiple layers of story revealed in the illustrations and in the text actually makes the brain work to synthesize the meaning. Another positive aspect of these superhero stories is the rich vocabulary. Words like fearsome, fiendish, felon, asylum, institution, and demented are not commonly used in daily speech, but they all appear on the first page of the story. Imagine how many words of this kind are contained in the entire book! And a final positive feature of this type of book is that is encourages multiple readings, because the story can be changed by making different choices. All of that reading will help to build fluency.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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