Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Annie and the Old One

Miles, Miska (Author)
Parnall, Peter (Illustrator)
Little, Brown 1985. 44 pages
First published: 1971
ISBN: 9780316571203 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, point of view

Award

Newbery Honor Book – 1972

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When a young Navajo girl named Annie learns that her beloved grandmother will die once her mother finishes the rug on her loom, she sets out to do whatever she can to stop it from getting finished.

However, time, the wise old grandmother tells her, cannot be stopped. Slowly, Annie comes to terms with the fact that dying is a natural and unavoidable part of life and decides to learn how to weave, like her mother and grandmother, with the special stick “the Old One” has given her.

Uncluttered black and white sketches, with occasional dashes of yellow and brown, depict the traditional colours of the Navajo as well as the simplicity of their rural environment, and will help demystify a handful of new words like “mesa” and “hogan.”

The use of symbolism to speak gently about death portrays an abstract subject in a non-threatening way. “...the sun rose but it also set” and “the cactus did not bloom forever” poetically describe life cycles to readers.

Comparisons could be made with some of Canada’s First Nations or Inuit tales in order to explore different values and traditions.

  •  

    Discuss how the grandmother explains her death to Annie. What do you think of this Navajo interpretation of death? How is this different from in your culture?

  •  

    Make a list of descriptive language used in the book.

  •  

    Write in your journal about Annie’s relationship with her grandmother. Compare it to your relationship with your grandmother.

  •  

    Discuss how the grandmother explains her death to Annie. When will the grandmother die and what does Annie do to prevent it? What do you think of this Navajo interpretation of death?

  •  

    Sequence the events in the story.

  •  

    Retell the story with the whole class.

  •  

    Research traditions about death among Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture