Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Young Charlotte, Filmmaker

Viva, Frank (Author/Illustrator)
Abrams 2015. 36 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780870709500 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

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:

Budding filmmaker Charlotte has an insatiable thirst for all things black and white. “She just wants to take a straw and drink all the colour right out of the air.” She brings her camera everywhere and especially loves filming her tomcat Smudge, whose vanity makes him the perfect subject. “Did you get my good side?” he asks, eliciting chuckles from the reader.

Produced by The Museum of Modern Art in New York, this stylish, often humorous, urban fairy tale introduces readers to black and white cinema, its two-dimensional illustrations emulating cut-out animation. In a nod to artists of different genres, the crown atop Charlotte’s head recalls Jean-Michel Basquiat, while colour spreads favouring mustard greens are a throwback to 1950s design, reminiscent of art posters. Many subtle tributes like these, along with information provided at the back of the book on Lotte Reiniger and Jean (Hans) Arp, will spark lively discussions about art.

Meanwhile, Charlotte demonstrates the value of sticking to your passion, even when others don’t understand. Her teacher insists that “black and white are not colours at all—‘they’re opposites,’” but the liberal use of sepia tones here suggests more nuance. One day, Charlotte meets a kindred spirit at the MoMA. “I like how black and white clears all the clutter,” says Scarlet, a film department employee who becomes a mentor. Charlotte’s persistence finally pays off when she and Smudge make a splash on the big screen.

  •  

    What is art? Point out examples around you of what you would consider to be art. Do you agree with your classmates?

  •  

    Use a graphic organizer and describe Charlotte. Which traits most strongly define her character?

  •  

    On a student-friendly site, research modern art. Find works that appeal to you. In your reader-writer’s notebook, describe these works and explain why they interest you.

  •  

    Watch a teacher-selected black and white film online and note details you think Charlotte would like. After viewing it, explain why this film might interest her.

  •  

    What is art? Discuss and create a class definition. How does art make you feel? Reflect on your definition and revise it, if necessary, as you read.

  •  Charlotte sees the world differently from other kids. Why is it difficult for her to connect with people her age? Would you be friends with Charlotte? Why or why not?
  •  

    Examine a coloured photo. Compare it to the same picture, but with a black and white filter (on a phone or tablet camera). Do you feel the same way about the picture? Which do you prefer? Why? What would Charlotte say? Do your own Colour Versus Black and White project and present it to the class.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Visual Arts