Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Whisper

Zagarenski, Pamela (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2015. 36 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780544416864 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, 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:

When a little girl loses the words to a mysterious book her teacher lends her, she has to tell her own stories, based on the images alone. She’s guided to do so by a whisper she hears, telling her to use her imagination.

Beautifully detailed dream-like mixed-media illustrations that include watercolours, collages, stamps and patterns inspire the girl to invent her stories.

While the fable about the little girl and her strange book is told in the third person, clips from the fantastical stories she comes up with appear in the first person: “Our job was to bring the birthday cake: vanilla with vanilla cream frosting and black raspberry filling with exactly six candles on top. Pan was very particular, and you could never quite know what to expect.” Each of her stories begins with a title and contains exciting elements like speech-giving animals, faraway lands and reluctant travellers.

Meanwhile, a fox who catches the lost words from the little girl’s book also has a tale that suggests we can write and rewrite our own stories.

Readers may choose to continue one of the little girl’s written creations, or simply explore themes of storytelling, reading and imagination.

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss what the story may be about. Read the book and compare it with your predictions.

  •  

    Frank Serafini (educator) says, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read. There are only children who have not found the right book yet.” Write about a special memory when you were immersed in “the right book.”

  •  

    Select a page with an incomplete story and write what happens next.

  •  

    Imagine the book is the basis for a television miniseries. Plan and produce a commercial that would make people want to watch it.

  •  

    Choose a picture book with rich illustrations. Cover the words and do a picture walk. Now, write your own story, using the images as your springboard. Compare stories with others.

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss what the story might be about. Read the book and compare it with your predictions.

  •  

    Discuss the role of the fox.

  •  

    Choose one page and copy the story starter. Write the rest of the story, keeping the original plot in mind.

  •  

    Frank Serafini (educator) says, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read. There are only children who have not found the right book yet.” Write about a special memory when you were immersed in “the right book.”

  •  

    At the beginning, the little girl is sad to have a book without any words. Examine the illustrations of several wordless books. How are they similar to or different from books with words?