Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Meanwhile...

Feiffer, Jules (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 1999. 32 pages
First published: 1997
ISBN: 9780062059338 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting, structures and features

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:

Raymond is frustrated, grappling with his mother’s insistence on getting him to do things “Right now,” when he comes across the word “meanwhile.” Inspired, he writes the word in red marker on the wall and is magically transported into another world. He is elated: “He had meanwhiled!” Raymond is now aboard a pirate ship in shark-infested waters, and is soon duelling and rescuing the requisite “beautiful maiden.” When his sword breaks, his adventure nearly takes a fatal turn, but Raymond saves himself by meanwhiling again, this time into the wild west, and then into outer space. He cycles through the three worlds each time his life is in danger, finally cutting his imaginary free-fall short by shouting “the end!”

The depiction, in graphic style, of the exploits of a boy who loves reading comic books is original and gleeful. The bright watercolours of the comics-style panels render the far-out details of the protagonist’s imaginary journeys: in space, the “evil two-headed King of the Martians” is warty, smirking and green, while the perspective, as Raymond is forced to walk the plank, is thrillingly perilous.

The illustrations capture, and will captivate, the far-reaching imagination of young readers.

  •  

    Discuss what the title might mean.

  •  

    Explore the structures and features of graphic novels (panels, captions, bubbles. etc.). Discuss the impact of these traits on you as the reader.

  •  

    Set up mini-debates in groups of 4, arguing for or against the idea that Raymond deserves what happens to him. Consider his motivations, what he is avoiding, his familiarity with meanwhile in other books, as well as his lack of experience with it.

  •  

    If you had your own meanwhile, what would you avoid and where would you escape to? Create a graphic story that includes your favourite meanwhile.

  •  

    Discuss the meaning of the title.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the variety of settings.

  •  

    Explore the book and identify the graphic novel conventions such as panels, captions and bubbles.

  •  

    Discuss the expression, “It’s not fair.” Do you think Raymond deserves what happens to him?

  •  

    If you had your own meanwhile, where would you go? Create a 4-panel graphic text to show your own favourite meanwhile.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information