Sunday, March 15, 2009
Just a Dream
Just a Dream
Chris Van Allsburg
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Genre: Picture Book/Concept Book
Perhaps most widely known for his book, The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg confronts the issue of recycling and the protection of the environment in his book, Just a Dream. Walter is a boy who doesn't know much about protecting our environment, and doesn't care to. One night, we are transported through Walter's dreams into the future of a world where our Earth is consumed by pollution, waste and overcrowding. When Walter awakens to his present world, his ideals about saving the planet are changed along with his dreams. Van Allsburg's beautiful illustrations readers into the book and make them feel as if they are sitting in the bed, floating through Walter's dreams with him.
I enjoyed the sinple message of this book. This is a wonderful piece of literature to introduce an environmental study unit focusing on the concept of recycling and pollution. I would recommend this book for students in second through fourth grade. There are several lessons that can be created to accommodate both the lower levels and the higher levels. For the lower levels, a character analysis can be done as well as opening a discussion on recycling and pollution. For the higher levels, a "show, don't tell," writing lesson can be developed. Van Allsburg does an incredible job showing his readers what is happening rather than telling them. Frequently referred to as "seed stories" students can learn how to take a small moment and turn it into a highly detailed story.