Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Jane, the Fox & Me

Britt, Fanny (Author)
Arsenault, Isabelle (Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2013. 104 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781554983605 (hardcover)
9781554983612 (e-book)
Original language: French
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, language conventions, layout, multimodal, point of view, setting

Award

Governor General’s Literary Award – 2013

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:

Dialogue, narrative and washroom graffiti gradually reveal the extent of Hélène’s banishment by her ex-friends and her retreat into the world of her favourite book, Jane Eyre. Atmospheric illustrations use pencil—and erasure—effects to create compelling images of Hélène’s sad and withdrawn perspective on reality. In contrast, clean, sharp-edged sequences depicting Jane Eyre’s story are full of colour.

Images and words create a devastatingly accurate portrayal of bullying among girls. Posturing girl-gangs dominate school halls. Isolated on the bus, Hélène narrates, “Even with my creeping vine of an imagination, I’m always taken off guard by the insults she invents.”

The theme of Hélène’s own distorted body image emerges. Her acceptance of the bullies’ perspective is reflected in Jane Eyre’s drawing of her rival (desirable) and a self-portrait (dowdy): “[Jane] shows no mercy … then, on purpose, she spends all night studying both portraits to burn the images into her brain for all time.”

School days, home life and a dreaded class camping trip all conspire to bring Hélène the awareness she needs. Finally, an encounter with a wild fox and a new friend merge with Jane Eyre’s own happy fate: “you’ll see, the story ends well.”

  •  

    The artwork on the front cover lends itself to discussion about the elements readers might encounter. Go on to explore the opening pages of the text and make connections between the cover and the book’s content.

  •  In small reading groups, discuss the connections that might be made between Jane’s experience and those of the reader. As a group, consider the limitations or universality of the experiences portrayed in the text.
  •  

    Include this book in a text set that explores graphic texts written for adolescents. Explore the issues they address, the characters they feature, the different narrative structures and other genre conventions.

  •  

    A teenager’s confidence is linked to their self-esteem and self-image. Identify (five) factors that you believe influence a teen’s self-esteem and self-image, either negatively or positively. Share your answers with two or three other students. As a group, reach a consensus on the three most influential factors.

  •  While reading, watch for the contrast between the colour and monochrome pages/panels. Explain how this contrast reflects what is going on in Hélène’s life.
  •  

    Writing as Hélène, send each of the following characters an email explaining just how much you appreciate them and why: Geneviève, Charlotte Brontë, Géraldine.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences