I have always prided myself on being a “cool” teacher; I try to dress hip, know the current slang and always know the trends of our current times. And being an English teacher, I always want to know the current trends in the book market. My specialty is high school and the college years, as this is where I have spent over fifteen years of my career. When I was volunteering this past week at the elementary school library, a young, hip boy approached me and asked, “Mrs. G, what book should I read?” I never assume anything–it has gotten me into trouble–and instead asked him what he liked. He told me and my wheels were a’turning. AH-HA! This kid would love Percy Jackson and if he liked the first one there was a plethora more where that came from, but alas, this little guy was nine. He could read Percy Jackson since he is a high level reader, but the maturity and some of the themes would be too mature for this young lad. Thanks to Adam Shaughnessy, I could stop the wheels from turning in my head and recommend a new series with adventure, Norse Myth, higher level reading with a nosey eleven year protagonist with the release of The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB.
Pru, short for Prudence, has an eye for solving a mystery and her new friend, ABE, has a knack for solving riddles. Together these two have to solve the mystery of the Eye of Odin and why Thor is locked in their town’s jail. The character development through the story creates a mystery within the mystery. It was a thrilling adventure to try to stay ahead of the plot and predict the ending. I am ready to recommend this book to any 3rd – 7th grader as it is appealing to all of these levels. Told from the perspective of an eleven year old helps this age connect to the main character. She is a sass mouth and defies authority landing her in weeks of detention, but this does not sway her belief system to do what is right.
I learned more about mythology than I realized. Thanks to Marvel I know about Thor and Loki, but I did not know the extent of their relationship. Because I am just so hip I have watched all of the Marvel movies and I think this also helps the ability to relate to this book and want to keep reading. Having a baseline of knowledge helps reluctant readers and thanks to Hollywood most of us have this knowledge.
I’m thrilled to see Mister Fox, owner of the Norse Detective agency, might make another appearance needing the aid of Pru and ABE. Since Loki is a sly, shape shifter, he may return to seek for the Eye of Odin and the only people who held it last remain in middle school in Middleton.
In the Classroom: Greek Mythology units are hands-down a fun use of four weeks of classroom time. You can cover a multitude of standards in all four curriculum areas. If your art and music teacher are willing to participate you can create a unit to be all encompassing! I love when units lend themselves to be linked directly to common core. It makes life easier for the educator. Key Ideas and details are easy to select in Mythology; this covers all of CCSS ELA Literacy 3.1- 3.3, 4.1-4.3 and 5.1-5.2. You can go further in the literature discovery if you add a writing element to the stories. After reading The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB I would encourage my students to write what happens when Loki returns to Middleton. I would also assign my students to research a Norse personality and create a picture of them in action. When you make students write a research project you are taking care of another three CCSS W.3.1-3.3, as well as CCSS W.4.1.
In the Store: Have paper dolls to cut out with clothes of various colors and shapes. Let your young readers create Paper Doll Norse Gods. They can create whatever god they would like: give them a name, an outfit and create a story to go along with it. Hang them up for display–the gods of “enter your town name.” Pru and ABE become unknown heroes in their town–saving it from the destruction of Loki. Help your readers create heroes in your town.
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin Young Readers | 9781616204983 | September 8, 2015)