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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel

Riggs, Ransom (Author)
Jean, Cassandra (Illustrator)
Yen Press 2013. 272 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780316245289 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Fantasy

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, layout, multigenre, 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
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this graphic novel adaptation about co-existing worlds—regular and “peculiar”—16-year-old Jacob Portman gets the shock of his boring, ordinary life when Grandpa is horribly killed and Jacob spots the murderer: a tentacle-mouthed monster with glowing eyes. As he suffers nightmares and visits with the psychiatrist, Jacob begins to re-interpret Grandpa’s old stories of childhood as a Holocaust refugee. A trip to the remote island in Wales where Grandpa grew up may hold answers and help Jacob find peace.

Images and language work beautifully together to relay the complex set of clues that set Jacob on his path. When two small image panels finally reveal the meaning of Grandpa’s dying words, the surrounding sea of white space provides a dramatic pause, while conveying that moment of blankness before everything is seen in a new light. The last panel of the sequence is also left blank, except for an expressive layout of punctuation and dialogue: “‘!! Uh, I feel a little, uh … Excuse me!’ ‘Jacob! What’s wrong?’’’

Illustrations of strong and energetic linework shift between monochrome (regular world) and colour (peculiar), clarifying the quick shifts between Jacob’s realities. Incorporated into the layouts are spooky old photos of circus oddities and more, creating an eerie plausibility for Grandpa’s personal history.

Underlying this supernatural mystery is the idea that any kind of life can be well-lived and appreciated. As Jacob discovers his own peculiarities, his tone transitions from teenage ennui (“The utterly unremarkable life that’s been mapped out for me”) to a sense of exciting purpose: “But my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

  •  Multimodality meets multigenre in this graphic text. The text incorporates an alternate history, fantasy, romance and coming of age story. Explore the way the text incorporates the different narrative streams into a cohesive whole.
  •  

    Seeing is believing. Or is it? In small groups, discuss the feasibility of the more fantastical photographs in the text.

  •  Use a production process to create a multimodal comic or graphic short story. Collect old photographs and use them to inspire and build the narrative.
  •  

    Before reading, leaf through the book, looking only at the images and chapter titles. With a partner, discuss what you believe this book is about.

  •  

    As you read, pay attention to the monochrome and colour sequences, and the panels in between. Why might the author have chosen to illustrate the novel this way?

  •  

    With a partner, write and illustrate the continuation of and conclusion to the story.

  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Social Sciences