Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review Extra: The Great Moon Hoax

The Great Moon Hoax
by Stephen Krensky
illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
Carolrhoda Books, 2011
ISBN: 9780761351108
Grades 3-5
Reviewed from copy received from publisher through netGalley.

Jake and Charlie sell newspapers. Based on how well they do each day, they chose a place to sleep, varying from alleyways to boarding houses.  Often the headlines determine how well the newspapers sell. When the paper starts printing stories about a telescope that allows the moon to be seen, the boys start doing really well.  Each day the newspaper carried an article about the fantastic things that were being seen on the moon. But could Jake's and Charlie's good fortune last?

I find this book very unusual, first because of the idea that such stories were believed, and second, the strangeness of the stories being told.  The illustrations are rather strange in and of themselves, which I think matches the strangeness of the stories the newspaper printed.  Unfortunately, I don't think the illustrations will appeal to many children, although children's tastes can be very surprising.  The strength of this book though is the idea it presents of telling lies to make money.  This fits in perfectly with teaching children about media literacy and learning to question what one reads.  The illustrations could very easily turn into a discussion of what illustrations are designed to do and the abstractness of art.  These themes would lead me to use this book with older students, I think it might confuse younger children.

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