Monday, April 13, 2009
Theoreau at Walden
Thoreau at Walden
from the writings of Henry David Thoreau
Genre: Non-Fiction/Biography - Graphic Version
My Rating: 5 out of 5
John Porcellino uses the writings of Henry David Thoreau to tell the story of his two years spent in Walden. For the reader who is not familiar with Thoreau and the background of Walden; or, Life in the Woods, Porcellino includes an introduction which summarizes the motivation and inspiration behind Thoreau's decision to live a solitary life in the woods resulting from struggling with what he wanted to do with his life after college graduation. Porcellino uses only Thoreau's words in the book, but pares them down in order to create a graphic representation of the novel. The drawings are simple, cartoon depictions of Thoreau's words, thoughts and ideas.
I enjoyed this version of Walden for several reasons. First, I enjoyed how Porcellino takes the underlying concept of Thoreau's work (living life as simply as possible) and mirrors it with the simplicity of the book. The lack of words actually allow the reader to focus on the most reflective ideas. I also enjoyed this book becuase its simplicity makes it accessable to students of varying reading levels. Walden is one of the most influential and important pieces of American Literature, teaching the reader that simplification is the key to true success. Being able to introduce students to his work at an early age through the use of a graphic novel is fanstastic. I would recommend this book for students in grades 3-5.