Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Errand

LaFleur, Leo (Author)
Oehlers, Adam (Illustrator)
Simply Read Books 2017. 40 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781772290240 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, language conventions, multimodal, point of view, 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:

Urgent language plunges readers into an errand boy’s mysterious foray through dark and treacherous woods, with a delivery for a suspected witch. “Down came the rain. There were no spiders to be washed away. Not yet.… You must hurry. You must stay dry at all costs.”

Monochromatic illustrations use sinuous line and dramatic shading to create moody night scenes of snarling wolves (“Move quickly again”), a tunnel of spider webs (“Do not look up”) and a sleeping giant who seems grown from the rocks and trees.

In both the visuals and the language, the idea of light provides a hopeful contrast—and moments of respite—as the boy encounters a river naiad (“She smiles at you”) and a phoenix-like spirit just outside the witch’s house, when he needs it most: “You open the door of your heart and let her in. Your courage is unmistakable now.” Readers may note that the layout of the comic panels mimics that of the witch’s many-paned window—as if she were always watching.

The story’s underlying motif—the brave management of fears—is emphasized as the boy makes his delivery, returns unscathed from the “Witch’s Whispering Woods,” and drops to his knees in a field tinged rosy with dawn. Future challenges and fears are acknowledged with a fun yet ominous finish: “Until tomorrow … Beware the Warlock of the Mansion on the Hill.”

  •  

    Brainstorm a list of familiar fairy tales and the moral of each tale. After reading, compare the message of this story with those of traditional fairy tales.

  •  

    Discuss how the author’s word choice, language and illustrations contribute to the tone of the story and your understanding of the text.

  •  

    Create a Venn diagram or other visual representation to show story elements that are shared (or not) with other fairy tales.

  •  Compare the point of view used in this text with a first or third person perspective. How does this affect your connection to the story?
  •  With a partner, create a story in the same style for the Warlock of the Mansion of the Hill.
  •  

    Panel and page layout, point of view, line, colour and text work together to create meaning. What elements are in play in the first double-page spread?

  •  

    In a small reading group, share what you noticed during reading and discuss what these elements might mean. Make notes following the discussion.

  •  

    Use the text as a model for creating a narrative that continues the story of the errand boy and the Warlock of the Mansion of the Hill. Use a production process to create a finished text that can be shared with an audience of peers and adults.

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the characters, features, illustrations and perspective. How is this picture book similar to or different from others you know?

  •  

    Before reading, look at the pictures and make predictions about the story. After the read-aloud, compare and contrast your predictions with the story. Make connections with other stories you know.

  •  

    Create a mind map of the story. Include information about the characters and the setting, as well as any feelings evoked in the reader.

  •  

    With a partner, create a story in the same style about the Warlock of the Mansion of the Hill.

  •  

    As a group, discuss the features of a fairy tale. What do characters often encounter when entering enchanted forests? Compare this tale to a familiar one.

  •  

    Discuss how the illustrations complement the text. How are emotions transmitted though the visuals? Take notes to prepare for a discussion with partners.

  •  

    Draw a map to illustrate the errand boy’s journey.

  •  

    Create a classified ad for a new errand boy. What are the job requirements? What qualities must the applicant have?

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Media Literacy
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Visual Arts