Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Metal Man

Reynolds, Aaron (Author)
Hoppe, Paul (Illustrator)
Charlesbridge 2010. 32 pages
First published: 2008
ISBN: 9781580891516 (paperback)
9781580891509 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, language conventions, 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
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

It is a scorching hot summer day and Devon is going to see the metal man. His little sister, Asia, is scared of the noise, and his mom thinks it is a waste of time. But Devon finds the welder’s workshop, where scraps are transformed into art, to be a magical place that gives him a sense of belonging. “When I hang out with the metal man, I get it right. I see what I see. Not like school.” One day, the metal man asks him what he wants to make. With a little encouragement, Devon shares his vision and a star house comes to life. Devon learns to believe in his own creativity. Even his mom sees something in it. She hangs his star house in the window, proudly.

Told in a palpable first-person voice, the language is rich with dialect and musicality. Text rich with similes is laid out like a free verse poem, bringing Devon’s world to life. The metal doors of the workshop open “like a big ol’ dragon mouth” and “the torch’ll tear ya up like a thousand killer bees.” Strong African American characters and a male role model are at the centre of the storytelling.

Dynamic mixed-media illustrations, in a limited palette of blues, tans and browns, lend energy and movement to the already vibrant text. Sparks literally fly across the page.

A wonderful read-aloud to encourage self-confidence and creative expression.

  •  

    Read the first page and discuss the dialect. Say the abbreviated words aloud, with and without the final g. Note the difference. How does this language style influence our understanding of the characters, setting and tone of the text?

  •  

    Describe and discuss the different perspectives in the illustrations: close-ups, wide shots, varying angles. Why would the illustrator construct the images like this? What information about the characters, setting and plot is conveyed?

  •  What message is this story conveying about the importance of art? What purpose does it serve for Devon?
  •  

    Discuss the word mentor. Has a mentor helped you develop a new skill? How is this person similar to or different from metal man? Write a short text, comic strip or photo story about your learning process with this person. Include conversation and personal thoughts, as in the story. 

  •  Discuss the cover and back page. Make predictions about the story.
  •  

    Brainstorm a class list of vocabulary and information related to the topic of metalworking. Add to the list as the story is read aloud.

  •  

    Discuss how the language differs from that found in many other stories. Note the combined use of conversation, narration and personal thoughts. How does the language style help us get a better grasp of the story?

  •  

    Discuss the word mentor. Who has helped you develop a new skill? How is this person similar to or different from metal man? Write a short text, comic strip or photo story about your learning process with this person. Include conversation and personal thoughts, as in the story.

  •  

    Listen as the first page is read aloud. Listen again, this time the page is read as if it were written in conventional English. Why would the author have his characters speak in dialect?

  •  

    Devon doesn’t like school, but thanks to the metal man, he learns about welding. Discuss what other jobs might be interesting for people who enjoys working with their hands.

  •  

    Find examples of the author’s use of similes, metaphors and personification. Write a short essay about one of the vocations listed above, incorporating the same three elements of figurative language.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Science and Technology
  • Visual Arts