Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Crazy Man

Porter, Pamela (Author)
Groundwood Books 2006. 216 pages
First published: 2005
ISBN: 9780888996954 (paperback)
9780888996947 (hardcover)
9781554980550 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Historical

Text Elements:

character, characterization, layout, point of view, setting

Awards

Governor General’s Literary Award – 2005
Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award – 2006
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – 2006
Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People Winner – 2006
The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Award (Fiction) Nominee – 2007
IBBY Honour List – 2008

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:

This book bursts out in mid-crisis, with dramatic events that will grip readers: a young girl is hospitalized with severe injuries; her father has deserted the family.

Told through the voice of 12-year-old Emaline, the story becomes even more riveting as it turns to recovery. Against the backdrop of a small farming community in Saskatchewan, subjects such as trauma, mental illness, prejudice and empathy are conveyed with laser-like precision, using telling details: “I heard stomping up the front steps./The doorbell rang. And I knew/it wasn’t Dad.”

Through loss and subsequent gains, Emaline remains clear-sighted and compassionate. The verses’ short line structure recalls terse country speech. On the new farm hand, hired from the mental hospital, Emaline remarks: “First couple days Angus was seeding,/people drove past like they were looking /at Christmas lights.”

This book brilliantly depicts the unflinching natural forces of farming life, peopled with a cast of nuanced characters. Besides being a compelling read, this is an excellent introduction to the power of poetry.

  •  

    Examine the cover page and discuss the characters, time and setting. Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    Create a character map for Emeline, Angus and Mom. How do the characters evolve from the beginning to the end of the story? How are the characters similar or different from the gossips?

  •  

    Miss Tollofsen invites Emaline for tea. Imagine being invited to your teacher’s house for tea. Write that story in the same style.

  •  

    On page 86, Miss Tollofsen talks of growing roses. “You have to protect them a little, and then cut them back hard. It sounds harsh, but adversity makes them thrive. They will reward you by blooming their hearts out.” Write about how this is a metaphor for Emaline’s tragedy and her growth.

  •  

    Examine the cover page and discuss the characters, time and setting. Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    Create a character map for Emeline, Angus and Mom. How do the characters evolve from the beginning to the end of the story? How are the characters similar or different from the gossips?

  •  As you read, draw a mind map of the story.
  •  

    Miss Tollofsen invites Emaline for tea. Imagine being invited to your teacher’s house for tea. Write that story in the same style.

  •  

    Before reading, research farm life in the 1960s, in Saskatchewan. Team up with two or three others and discuss what you learned. Compare that lifestyle to the one you are living today.

  •  As you read, pay attention to the length and layout of each stanza and try to understand why the author formatted them like that.
  •  Create a comprehensive character map of Angus, describing him in detail, as well as how he interacts with the people around him.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Sciences