Monday, May 11, 2015

HEY, AL   
by Arthur Yorinks
Pictures by Richard Egielski

Awards: Caldecott Winner

Strong lead / good beginning and a ridiculously funny fantasy!

Book Talk
At the beginning of Hey, Al, we meet Al and his dog, Eddie.  Al is a janitor who lives simply, but is beginning to wish things were better for him. This could be because Eddie (who speaks English to Al) is encouraging Al to move.  But life remains difficult and they continue to struggle.

Until one day….a giant, beautiful bird pops his head thru Al’s bathroom window and starts talking to him!  He asks Al if he is working too hard, if he is still struggling and going nowhere. Al admits that all of that was true.  The bird assures him that if Al and Eddie join him tomorrow, that the bird will show them a terrific place with ‘no worries, no cares.’

With Eddie’s encouragement (pleading, actually!), the two are transported by the bird to a magical, beautiful island in the sky. They were warmly greeted by a host of other beautiful,magical tropical birds and Al and Eddie begin their first of many lazy, do-nothing days.  Al spends his days sitting in waterfalls while being waited on by the birds and eating fruit. Eddie spends his days doing nothing but chasing beautiful butterflies.  They soon have no idea how long they have been on the island in the sky.

One day, Al notices that he and Eddie are changing into birds themselves! They are horrified and know that they must get home.  They try flying and Al is successful because he is stronger and has more wings.  Al arrives home by himself, heartbroken to be without Eddie. But soon Eddie(somehow) arrives, too—and they are thrilled to be back in their very humble little home again.

Favorite lines: "What could be bad? Plenty. ‘Look at this dump!’ Eddie (the dog) growled. ‘We can’t have a house? A little back yard to run around in for a change?’ ‘Oh sure.’ Al snapped. ‘Today it’s a house you want. Tomorrow, who knows? Maybe the moon!’"                       

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text
Book Genre: Fantasy
Reading Workshop strategies: Questioning, Summarizing
Writing Workshop Genre: Fantasy, Strong Lead
Grammar: Use of quotation marks /dialogue

Information about Arthur Yorinks:

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