Esther's Reviews > Peter and the Wolf

Peter and the Wolf by Chris Raschka
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's review
Oct 17, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: picture-books

Peter and the Wolf retold by Chirs Raschka
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, NY, 2008.
Interest Level: Grades 2-6 because the read along could interest developing readers but the cultural connection to the music could appeal to older readers.

This book is an interpretation of Sergei Prokofiev's symphony and story of Peter and the Wolf. The story follows Peter, his grandfather, and various animals as they try to evade the wolf's grasp. The framed illustrations are miniature stage sets that are composed of four sheets of heavy paper that come together to make a 3-D illustration. 

The design of the text, illustrations, characters, and miniature stage sets is amazing in this short picture book. Each human character has a somewhat cubist dimension, since their profile and full-face can be seen, but each animal is only seen from one perspective. The flat characterization of the animals places them apart from Peter and his grandfather while also providing contrast in the 3-D stage sets. The various positioning and sizes of the text on the pages set the tone for each animal as well as the story. In addition, the stage and various "parts" of the story create a play-like tone with beginning end papers to state the participants. What is also interesting about the end papers is that at the end there are no end papers and the last page is used for an epilogue, which fully resolves the story and leaves the reader with positive impressions.

I think that this book would make a great reader's theater selection for older students since each part is clearly marked and different. Also, studying this book with the music and discussing how it has been interpreted could be a great way to use the textual content. Overall, this book has a great design, text, and characterization that moves this timeless story to a new level of artistry.

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