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Required :) Reading > Return to Exile

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message 1: by Jolene (new)

Jolene Elison | 16 comments I have finished the first 100 pages. I am having a really hard time getting into this novel. Others have told me that it gets really good around page 300.


message 2: by Shar (last edited Oct 09, 2012 03:54PM) (new)

Shar (sricks) | 9 comments I liked this book, especially after the first 100 pages. There were parts that I really liked, such as the humor and much of the action, however I think it may be hard for middle grade readers to track all of the different kinds of monsters and changing characters. Sometimes I felt confused, almost too many major characters and villains.

If I was using this book in the classroom I think it would be interesting to compare and contrast characters such as Sky and Errand, their motivations, reactions to monsters, and their final actions in the end of the book.


message 3: by Canda (new)

Canda | 69 comments Mod
As Sky Weathers was moving to Exile, it was said about him that he “left nothing behind—no friends, no teams”. He seemed disconnected from normal life, living in his head with his fantasies.
When Sky moves to the town of his birthplace, Exile, he leaves the world he knows where monsters are only in books, initiating the hero’s journey. In Exile he realizes “Monsters, hunters, his dreams, Phineas…everything is true.” Sky was being trained his whole life to know monsters, their weaknesses and the history he would need to monsters, and that’s just what he has to do and use in this town.
He develops friendships and alliances with other kids who fight monsters and together they try to rid the town of evil and save their loved ones. Sky’s questions about his own identity introduces a theme investigated in the series: What is a monster? The moment of realization occurred when he reflected that he was “living a life he thought was his”.


message 4: by Joan (new)

Joan Tuckett | 5 comments Jolene wrote: "I have finished the first 100 pages. I am having a really hard time getting into this novel. Others have told me that it gets really good around page 300."

I am with you


message 5: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Hess | 23 comments Jolene wrote: "I have finished the first 100 pages. I am having a really hard time getting into this novel. Others have told me that it gets really good around page 300."

I did finish the book (last night). I kept thinking I'd get into it soon. It didn't happen for me. I was confused and all the monsters threw me off. I think it just wasn't my style.


message 6: by Jody (new)

Jody (JodyKyburz) | 54 comments "Exile" has many examples of the try/fail story structure we are teaching our students. Sky is trying to locate his Uncle Phineas before the deadline and he keeps hoping that all these other characters will be able to help him, that he can trust them. Of course, there are many obstacles to prevent him from succeeding.

"'What! You mean I didn't--'

Errand grabbed Sky's arm and threw him at the Gnomon. And the world fell apart around him."


message 7: by Sheri (last edited Oct 08, 2012 03:40PM) (new)

Sheri (Bellesteacher) | 25 comments I haven't gotten far in the book. I had planned to read it to my 5th grade students when we go back on track. I really didn't want to read it twice. Maybe I'll read farther and rethink my plan.


message 8: by Breann (new)

Breann | 31 comments This book allowed for many opportunities to ask questions about key details of the text. Because of the complex plot, it was important to determine the KEY details to carry yourself through the book.


message 9: by Jody (new)

Jody (JodyKyburz) | 54 comments Jolene, I really appreciated your comment as I was reading the book because it was difficult for me to get into as well. The good news is that things got better. This is great real life experience as we teach our students how to choose a "just right" book and when it might be a good idea to abandon a book. I'm glad I hung in there!


message 10: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten | 13 comments I liked it at first, but it was difficult to get through. It was really extremely fantasy, so I had a hard time following it. It had its clever writing moments but it was bulky too!


message 11: by Georgia (last edited Oct 08, 2012 04:31PM) (new)

Georgia Omer | 18 comments Reply to Shar: Agree 100%. There were so many characters introduced so fast I was continually looking back! When Ms. Hagfish was introduced in Chapter 10, I thought we'd really get a chance to get to know her; not true, we jumped into more characters!


message 12: by Breann (new)

Breann | 31 comments I totally agree with the idea of books having multiple themes. I love to get a discussion going about what the book's theme is with my class.


message 13: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Clark | 5 comments I agree. I have had a really difficult time getting into this book. I have heard several people say to stick with it after 100,200 or 300 pages.....or till the end. :)


message 14: by Lori (new)

Lori Chadwick | 16 comments I also felt the same way. I had a difficult time following this and just didn't get into it. But, I did like the cover of the book!


message 15: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Pope | 30 comments I had a difficult time getting into this novel. For some reason I could not follow the story line. As I continued to plow through the pages, I did find the book became better the farther I read. I really loved the cover of the book!


message 16: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Jackman | 22 comments I think that this book would be a great opportunity for discussions about character change. Students could keep a log about characters from the beginning to the end of the book adding in new and different character traits as they go. At the end of the book, you could make some different venn diagrams comparing and contrasting what characters were like at the beginning compared to the ending.


message 17: by R2 (new)

R2 (Appygirl) | 42 comments Exile by E.J. Patterson was a good read, no pun intended. I felt that this book could be a good example of how good narrative could be used and how to find voice in writing. With the new core students are becoming a formula style writer because of the informational text they will be writing most. For example, Sky's mom said, "Let someone else get into trouble for a change!"(81). This one line will let students feel what some have experienced in life as well giving a voice to the character. As well as narrative from the core, students can be taught language skills by identifying new words and their uses. A word could be "phosphorus"(15) a scientific term not many students would know. This too came lead to a good discussion as students find new words.


message 18: by Joan (new)

Joan Tuckett | 5 comments When I look at Comparing and contrasting stories in the same genre from our core, this book is seriously a Harry Potter wanna be! From the infant rescued, to the birthmark that burns, to the names of the characters. Malvidia really? Sounds a lot like Malfoy. I think the author could have been a little more creative in coming up with his own plot! I am not impressed. However, HE IS PUBLISHED! I think those kids who liked Harry Potter may like this book, if they can get past the similarities enough to enjoy it!


message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Crumrine | 15 comments Overall, I liked this book. It kept my attention, and there was definitely a lot going on and a lot to think about, but I didn't feel like it was the most well-written book I've ever read. Some of the analogies or metaphors were poorly written. Twelve year old boys would love this book, but I've read better.


message 20: by Mama (new)

Mama (MamaLund) | 4 comments At times, I was intrigued by Patten's clever language, but at other times, he went WAY overboard in his descriptions. As far as the CCSS goes, this book would definitely demonstrate some excellent examples of figurative language use. Also, Patten is adept at creating multiple settings and multiple characters. The settings clearly shape the characters. Students would easily be able to identify how setting and character can/should build off each other.


message 21: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 71 comments The figurative language used was fun. I really liked the metaphor "he was unshaven, his skin rough and tanned like toffee left in the sun." It left me thinking we could also discuss how well author's similes work for each of us individually. I was left wondering about the fact that toffee left in the sun would be melted. I also like the phrase "a faint smile played on his lips like a sun waiting to shine." I think it would be fun for fifth graders to go simile and metaphor hunting through books like this with descriptive language.


message 22: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (Detour24) | 33 comments Return to Exile would be a good book to use with narrative techniques and to analyze particular lines of dialogue. The author usually ends the chapter with questions and many times left Sky on the edge of danger or right when an exciting part would happen. I think it would be good to use with having students look at how they set up their writing with details. I would look at how the author ends the chapters and have them model with their own writing.


message 23: by Corinna (new)

Corinna (CorinnaMotorres) | 12 comments I love the monster theme, as Canda mentioned. I come from a Jewish background, so the idea of other people being viewed as "monsters" by some, and heroes by others is a part of my heritage. It can be a total question of point of view. I think it would be fun to do an extension exercise of having the students write a brief story extension from the point of view of one of the monsters.


message 24: by Melanie (last edited Feb 25, 2013 04:38PM) (new)

Melanie | 71 comments REPLY...A general consensus seems to be that the book was difficult until page 300. I am wondering if there is also a pattern to the reasons we all found for it being hard to get into the book at first? Was it different for everyone.....flow, clarity of plot, characterization? Do respond..... I think that this book could be used to discuss reading standard 5th grade, standard 6 regarding narrator or Sky's point of view and how that influences the description of the plot.


message 25: by Mama (new)

Mama (MamaLund) | 4 comments On pg. 268 in the second paragraph, you'll find examples of metaphor, simile, AND personification in one fell swoop. It might be a good place to demonstrate all three types.


message 26: by R2 (new)

R2 (Appygirl) | 42 comments Shar wrote: "I liked this book, especially after the first 100 pages. There were parts that I really liked, such as the humor and much of the action, however I think it may be hard for middle grade readers to ..."

Melanie wrote: "The figurative language used was fun. I really liked the metaphor "he was unshaven, his skin rough and tanned like toffee left in the sun." It left me thinking we could also discuss how well autho..."

Shar wrote: "I liked this book, especially after the first 100 pages. There were parts that I really liked, such as the humor and much of the action, however I think it may be hard for middle grade readers to ..."

Shar, I feel as you did that there is a lot of humor. I think this one element was what pulled me into the reading. It seems that too often there isn't a lot of humor in reading. Author's just go into the story and put a small portion of humor here and there.


message 27: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (Detour24) | 33 comments Natalie wrote: "I think that this book would be a great opportunity for discussions about character change. Students could keep a log about characters from the beginning to the end of the book adding in new and di..."

Mama wrote: "At times, I was intrigued by Patten's clever language, but at other times, he went WAY overboard in his descriptions. As far as the CCSS goes, this book would definitely demonstrate some excellent..."

I like the idea of keeping a log of characters. I think that would help my students keep track of the characters. I did like the language the author used and I think my students could benefit from seeing that kind of writing.


message 28: by Georgia (last edited Oct 08, 2012 04:43PM) (new)

Georgia Omer | 18 comments Keeping track of all the language in Return to Exile was tough. The last paragraph on pg. 142 was extremely tough! The form of, "Warg/Wargarou," was used 11 times!
This sentence in particular was confusing,"They could create Shadow Wargs and, if they found Shadow Wargs that other Wargarous had created, they could bind them."
I think students could possibly get lost in the language.
Adore quirky Uncle Phineas.


message 29: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay Steenblik | 2 comments E.J. Patten successfully sets up the story with the necessary details and background knowledge in the prologue. As a reader, I began to analyze the choice the author made to begin the actual story in the middle of a scene filled with action. Continuing to read along, it becomes apparent that the author was illustrating the dynamic relationship between Sky and his Uncle Phineas, but I was disappointed that the relationship was short lived.

My favorite aspect of the novel was the engaging language that was used throughout. The dialogue that occurs between Sky and his sister, Hannah, is a great representation of sibling relationships that many students would relate to. Impacting the story with humor, cliches, and details, the language of this novel affects more than just the plot.


message 30: by Julie (new)

Julie (Reyeslaw22yahoocom) | 13 comments For 6th grade 6.3 it talks about discussing changes in the characters. Cordelia was one character that changed from the typical bully in the shadow Warg group to helping and liking Sky somewhat. At one point she says "we don't know, Sky" .."she did it while we were in the dark. I'm sorry." And she actually sounded like she was.
6.2 One central theme or idea is that there is "Always a price." On page 436 Sky is talking, "everything has a price. That 's what you said. The price of power without understanding is your humanity. That's what Solomon still can't puzzle out. You can't expect to walk the same path he's walked and end up somewhere else!"


message 31: by Corinna (last edited Oct 08, 2012 05:03PM) (new)

Corinna (CorinnaMotorres) | 12 comments This book would be a great way to have students work on asking and answering some questions of who, what, where, when, why and how (especially who). I would take a selection and have them ask and answer one another’s questions about what happened. (RL 2.1)
Also, this would be a great book to have kids respond to how a character responds to major events or challenges. It would probably work best if the teacher chooses a specific event or challenge that Sky (or another character) faces, and have the students discuss what his reaction is. (RL 2.3) What do you think would be the best event for students to respond to?


message 32: by Sheri (new)

Sheri (Bellesteacher) | 25 comments I like the idea that Eric Pattern mentioned of using character cards. Based on his comments about middle readers enjoying the book and are able to track the characters, I will read this to my 5th graders.


message 33: by Mindy (new)

Mindy Johnston | 12 comments I was intrigued by this book because of the confusion I experienced from the beginning and was looking forward to the challenge of digging my way into it. I was defeated by it, but throughout the journey, I was pleasantly surprised by the language in this book. What a fun book to use for the figurative language standard. Admittedly, it was full of figurative language to the extreme, but It would be easy to find several examples of figurative language that would be of high interest to young adults.
Also, it would be easy for students who enjoy this genre to compare and contrast the elements of this text to similar texts that they have also enjoyed.


message 34: by Lindsay (last edited Oct 08, 2012 05:08PM) (new)

Lindsay Steenblik | 2 comments Corinna wrote: "I love the monster theme, as Canda mentioned. I come from a Jewish background, so the idea of other people being viewed as "monsters" by some, and heroes by others is a part of my heritage. It can ..."

I believe the theme of "monsters" would be widely accepted among the grade levels. Teaching 12th grade students, I would be interested in talking about the "monsters" my students face on a consistent basis. I can predict that such "monsters" would be: peer pressure, addictions, media influence, family expectations, etc. It would be a powerful theme to discuss, especially if students are encouraged to contemplate ways they can fight against their personal "monsters."


message 35: by Knevarez (new)

Knevarez | 8 comments The world building in Return to Exile would lend itself to craft and structure. The author develops the monsters and Sky in great detail which lends itself to exploring point of view. I really liked the idea of encouraging students, especially those who are artistic, to create their own encyclopedia of monsters. As someone who loves to draw, that really appealed to me even as an adult!


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie (Reyeslaw22yahoocom) | 13 comments Lindsay wrote: about the engaging language between Hannah and Sky.

I agree with you that the language between these siblings was fun and will be relatable to our students. I also enjoyed their interactions when they were at school. I hope there is more of that in the next book. As teachers we can have our students pick a scene in the book that they liked the best between brother and sister and why. I liked how Hannah was always begging Sky to help her avoid Tick.



message 37: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten | 13 comments This book has a lot of complex characters, which could be analyzed in the classroom. For instance, the teachers at the school are all vile, but we learn how even more vile they are as they transform into monsters. You could analyze how a character changes/stays the same through the change from teacher to monster. Likewise, you can analyze Sky's changes as he learns more information about his abilities and his magical world.

R.2.9th
Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters,
and advance the plot or develop the theme.


message 38: by Knevarez (new)

Knevarez | 8 comments After reading the book, understanding the author's influence of Tolkien helped me appreciate the development of the book. The comparison to Tolkien does come through throughout Uncle Phineas' books that were provided to Sky.


message 39: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Crumrine | 15 comments I liked what the author talked about with world and character development. Especially the questions he asked about his characters. Even though I teach first grade, and not a lot of this applies to what I'm teaching, I feel like the story structure (with the problems that his characters have and how they are trying to solve them) could come in very useful as I'm teaching writing.


message 40: by Lygia (new)

Lygia Johnson | 2 comments Having just begun teaching character traits to my 3rd graders, I appreciated the fact that the author spent so much time developing the many characters in the book. I am overwhelmed at the thought of the amount of time it must have taken him to develop each character as he asked, 'Who are they?', 'What do they want?', 'How do they get it?', and 'What is stopping them?' for each one. If I can get a 3rd grader to develop even one character a little better using these questions I will be thrilled.


message 41: by Barbara (last edited Oct 09, 2012 12:17PM) (new)

Barbara Langford | 3 comments I try to make sense of things logically as I read. That usually happens naturally in a story for me. When I have to start keeping notes on the characters and where they are, who they are and who they used to be, I lose interest. It was not an easy read for me. I have not enjoyed this Genre in the past. I agree that I could not get into this one because I needed an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the who, the what and the when. It would be a great adventure in a classroom to do just that I suppose. For younger readers, they may get off on that. I am not so much into Fantasy dealing with Monsters in another World that exists among Humans, I guess. A little disturbing for me. I did like the good over evil however - I believe in that.


message 42: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Langford | 3 comments "Ignorance is the gift the (monster)hunters have given the world for centuries." (219) This being a good gift.
I believe this statement metaphorically states how Uncle Phineas has tried for years to protect Sky from his inevitable future of a life mixed with Monsters - in one way or another. Not a life most normal boys of 11 or 12 would choose. The eternal battle of good and evil plays out over and over again as Sky evolves in the story, from a naive boy not really understanding the evil "Monsters"that are trying to overcome him, to the capable,trustworthy town hero defending the goodness of his friends and family. Pretty heavy stuff for a 12 year old, I think.


message 43: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Pope | 30 comments I feel that this book could be used as a perfect example of comparing and contrasting which is part of our state core! There were also many simile references in the book that could create some wonderful literature lessons! I also love the idea of writing in a journal specific thoughts connecting to this book. I think this book is to difficult for younger readers.


message 44: by Lygia (new)

Lygia Johnson | 2 comments I liked the fact that not all of the monsters in Exile were evil. The fact that there are good monsters can be a new concept for some students.


message 45: by Celeste (new)

Celeste Sky was different than the other kids that he had become friends with because he tried to understand what motivated the monsters instead of freezing them. Through contrasting the points of view of the different characters, whether Sky considered them friends or not, the reader was able to understand the theme presented by the author that people/monsters/things aren't always what they first appear.


message 46: by Celeste (new)

Celeste Lygia wrote: "Having just begun teaching character traits to my 3rd graders, I appreciated the fact that the author spent so much time developing the many characters in the book. I am overwhelmed at the thought..."
I also thought that his questions were a great way to teach kids how to develop their characters during creative writing. I also thought the questions might be a useful way to have students anaylze a text that they are reading. If readers could anaylze why a character is doing what they are doing and what is standing in their way, it might also help the reader to infer more meaning in their reading.


message 47: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Hess | 23 comments I wonder what a discussion comparing and contrasting characters in the story would look like. I was originally thinking about Sky and Phineas, but think one comparing Sky and Errand would be interesting. I think students could get really get into something like that.


message 48: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Hess | 23 comments There are so many try/fails and blocks in this novel, it's practically a gold mine. Students could really get into charting all the problems and how many try/fails before each one was resolved. Oh, what fun!


message 49: by Knevarez (new)

Knevarez | 8 comments Mindy wrote: "I was intrigued by this book..."

I agree with Mindy that the figurative language is a gold mine for students. The author said that he has learned a lot about writing since he wrote this book. I would love to have my sixth graders explore the figurative language in the book and, knowing that the author has improved his writing, have the students write their own improvements on the similes and metaphors in the book.


message 50: by Gayle (new)

Gayle | 12 comments Standard 3 – The book immediately reminded me of a Fablehaven/Harry Potter cross. Which gave me the idea to compare and contrast the three books. I have 4 boys reading the book. I chose them because they have read both Fablehaven and the Harry Potter series. I will comment further on this in a couple of weeks when they finish. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say at the end! I will also record some of the comparisons they give as they are reading it.


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