Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Compass South

Larson, Hope (Author)
Mock, Rebecca (Illustrator)
Macmillan 2016. 224 pages
First published: 2016
Series: Four Points
ISBN: 9780374300432 (hardcover)
9781250121844 (paperback)
9781466895935 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Adventure

Text Elements:

characterization, multimodal, panel arrangement, setting

Reading Range

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

Description:

Compass South is a fast-paced adventure tale complete with pirates, stowaways, jungle tribes and sword fighting. Set in 1860, it features two red-headed twins, Alex and Cleo, whose father is missing and who belong to a gang of young thieves. When caught, they’re given freedom in exchange for information on the gang’s whereabouts.

They plan to head to San Francisco where a reward is offered for lost red-headed twins, but meet Silias and Edwin, also red-headed twins, planning to do the same. But the twins get separated: Alex and Edwin are forced into service on a ship heading to San Francisco while Cleo and Silias stow away on a steamship headed to the same port. While each pair begins as rivals, they must learn to work together if they are to survive, for the gang leader is seeking revenge and the pirates want their treasure.

The illustrations reflect the fast-paced storyline. The panels are small, often with eight to a page depicting the back and forth dialogue or the conflict at hand. The style is cartoony, with the expressive eyes of shojo manga. The colours are bright and vary widely depending on the environment—from deep blue ocean scenes to bright green jungle scenes.

The text is pure dialogue and often functional, with moments of reflection: “Boys have adventures. Girls just stay at home and worry,” says Cleo who, for most of the book, poses as a boy.

The twins are reunited with their father at the end, but the treasure is never revealed, which suggests a sequel is in the making.

  •  

    Conventions of graphic novels such as frames, panel transitions, speech bubbles, line, colour and layout are essential to making meaning of graphic texts. Review the basic conventions of graphic novels using a double-page spread from the text.

  •  

    In small reading groups, discuss the way the text addresses gender roles and power relationships. Use examples from the text to support your ideas.

  •  

    Use a production process to create a short graphic text that completes the story. Share finished texts with peers or collect them into an anthology.

  •  

    Read the prologue and list the facts you gather under three headings: characters, setting and plot. Discuss as a group and add to your lists.

  •  Each chapter has a dedicated page with a picture clue and a title. With a partner, recreate a new title and picture for each of the chapters. Write a short note explaining the link between your picture and the chapter.
  •  

    One of the secondary storylines is of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to achieve her goal. Research other women, past or present, who have felt compelled to pass as men in order to achieve their goals. In a kiosk format, prepare to share your information with your peers.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts