Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Fleischman, Paul. Weslandia. Illus. Kevin Hawkes. New York: Candlewick Press, 2002. Print.
This book is about a young boy, Wesley, who decides to spend his summer vacation building a new civilization because the one he lives in now puts too much pressure on him. He does this by creating an 80 character alphabet, and by growing a new plant that grows fruit called swift. This fruit serves many purposes, even allowing Wesley to use the bark to make hats. Ages 9-12.
Thematic Topics: Civilizations, plants, math, family
Literary Elements: Imagry, developing characters, supporting characters, plot, mood
Possible Activity: Have children read the book and tell them to keep in mind all the new things that Wesley created. When the book is read, ask the children to list at least five new things that Wesley created for his civilization.
This book provided a lot of concept material, such as a new aplhabet and number bases. These concepts could be used to help students understand the existing concepts and where they might have originated from.
A Mighty Fine Time Machine by Suzanne Bloom.
Bloom, Suzanne. A Mighty Fine Time Machine. Illus. Author. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2009. Print.
This book is about a gang of young animals who trade treats for a time machine. But the time machine seems to be broken and needs some fixing. After fixing the time machine and racing it down a large hill, they find that the future is really pretty boring. Back in the present time, the animals decide to turn their time machine back into a box to hold their books. With the books the animals make their own adventures, much better than the future could provide. Ages 4-8.
Thematic Topics: Time machines, reading, trading, fixing things
Literary Elements: Plot, Setting, Mood
Possible Activity: Since all the animals must have had a different experience, write a summary of the book from the point of view of only one of the animals.
I thought that the ending provided a nice moral: that reading can be adventurous. I do not think this would be a book for children who like time travel however because they would disagree with the characters in the book.