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Katie's Korner: Graphic Novel Reviews for Schools and Libraries

Norroway Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway
Published by: Image Comics
Written by: Cat Seaton
Illustrated by: Kit Seaton

ISBN: 9781534308558
Ages: 13+

Review

Teamed up for a contemporary retelling of one of the most famous traditional Scottish myths, Cat and Kit Seaton put an exclamation point on what it means to creatively retell traditional stories for modern readers.

Sibylla craves adventure.  Even when a witch tells her of a future betrothal to a rather bullish partner, Sibylla isn’t quite able to understand just how literal the witch’s curse may be. 

When a literal magical bull shows up asking for her hand in marriage, however, Sibylla is in for more of an adventure than she originally dreamt possible.  In fact, is this the type of adventure Sibylla even wanted to come true? 

Thrown into an adventure that she never dreamt possible, but must indeed face, Sibylla must work together with her cursed companion to figure out if he is really a bull-like monster, or a real man trapped within a cursed bull’s body.

The first graphic novel in a new series, readers will want to follow Sibylla and her bull-like companion as they figure out if they can break the curse or simply want to walk away from it and each other.

Elements of Story

Plot: Based on the classic Scottish tale by the same title, this is the story about Sibylla who learns from the forest witch that she is destined to marry the Black Bull of Norroway. When the time comes, will she continue on an adventure with the Black Bull in order to break the curse of Norroway or will she choose to leave the curse unchanged?

Major Characters: Sibylla, Petra (Sibylla’s magpie), Sibylla’s sisters, Forest Witch, Brom (the Black Bull), Esben Haugen, George, Mathilde, Captain Harper Dhow, Dagny (the Maid of Norroway), Maire (the Old One)

Major Settings: Goose Valley, Forest Witch’s Home, Forest, Norroway, Esben Haugen’s Castle, Glass Mountain, Ocean, Dagny’s Palace, Glass Mountain

Themes: Mythology, Adventure, Destiny, Expectations, Identity, Parnterships

Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the Common Core Standards (CCS) for Young Adults

Common Core Standard(s)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.9
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.

Directions for Lesson Plan

For this lesson plan, educators will need to first identify and assign an original version (or a focused piece of the original version) of the Scottish myth The Black Bull of Norroway

To begin, educators can handout the original story to students and ask them to read and take plot point notes on a timeline.  Students need to document at least 6 major plot points from the original Scottish myth

          1             2             3             4             5             6

 

 

After recording at least 6 major plot point notes on the original Black Bull of Norroway myth (or a focused piece of the original version), ask students to read Kit and Cat Seaton’s Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway

When they are done reading Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway, students can fill out a compare and / or contrast Venn Diagram.  The Venn Diagram will help students comprehend the similarities and the differences between the original myth and the new graphic novel.

In the far left of the left circle, students can record the unique aspects of the original Black Bull of Norroway story. 

In the far right of the right circle, students can record the unique aspects of the Seatons’ new graphic novel Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway.

Where the circles overlap, students can list the similarities between the two stories.


Hey, Kiddo
Published by: Graphix
Written by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Illustrated by: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
ISBN: 9780545902489
Ages: 13+

Review

A highly personal and emotionally charged story about coming of age and realizing what family actually means to you, Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo offers readers a unique insight into one of the graphic novel world’s favorite creators and his personal journey of self-discovery. 

Adopted by his grandpa and restricted by his biological mother from being adopted by his grandmother as well, Jarrett leaves his biological mother’s home (Leslie) because of her misguided decisions and addiction, both of which land her in jail.  Disappointed in the loss of his mother’s presence, Jarrett slowly realizes that perhaps living with his grandparents is a gift, one that they are happy to give him but takes him time to fully understand.

An adopted child with my own feelings of loss due to that reality myself, I highly recommend Hey, Kiddo be embraced in educational settings far and wide.  An excellent behind-the-scenes look at what it means to truly define family through a child’s evolving lens, Hey, Kiddo sheds light on what it’s like to both lose and gain family, blame and forgive family, and, most importantly, move forward with one’s own life and family as an adult.

Elements of Story

Plot: Because of his mother’s addiction and absence during a prolonged time in jail, Jarrett Krosoczka ends up coming of age while living with his Grandma and Grandpa Krosoczka.  As a kid, living with his grandparents is both comforting and confusing for Jarrett.  He not only misses his mother, but also realizes that his grandparents have been the ones to truly take care of him during his childhood.

Major Characters: Jarrett, Grandma Shirley Krosoczka (maiden name Olson), Grandpa Joe Krosoczka, Joey, Leslie (Jarrett’s mom), Stephen, Lynn, Holly, Patrick (Pat), Mark, Mr. Shilale, Miguel, Richard Hennessy (Jarrett’s father), Maura and Richard Hennessy (Jarrett’s half siblings)

Major Settings: City of Worcester, Hope Cemetery, Krosoczka home on Brookline Street, Leslie’s home, McDonald’s, Gates Lane School, Worcester Art Museum, Friendly’s, Minimum Security Home (where Leslie stays after she over doses), Holy Name High School, Grandpa Joe’s factory shop, Holly’s home, the Woods, Richard Hennessy’s Home

Themes: Family, Identity, Belonging, Addiction, Coming of Age, Self-expression & Art

Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the Common Core Standards (CCS) for Young Adults

Common Core Standard(s), Key Ideas and Details:

Key Ideas and Details
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.3
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

Directions for Lesson Plan

In Hey, Kiddo Krosoczka shares a story rich with specific dialogue and visual incidents that outline and inform the reader about how he defines “family” over time.

Thinking specifically about the dialogue and visual incidents that reflect how Jarrett is defining family at the beginning of the story, middle of the story, and ending of the story will help readers analyze the key ideas and details that inform Jarrett’s ongoing definition of family. 

*In the dialogue column, students can paraphrase Jarrett’s verbal feelings with 1 or 2 sentences. In the visual column, students can draw a summative image of Jarrett’s feelings so far.

 

Supportive Dialogue

(quotations/paraphrase with page #s)
Visual Incidents
(recreate visuals w/ page #s)

Prologue

   

Chapter 1: Family History

   

Chapter 2: Life with Leslie

   

*SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?

   

Chapter 3: Skipping a Generation

   

Chapter 4: Disclosure

   

Chapter 5: Pen to Paper

   

Chapter 6: Hard Work

   

SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?

   

Chapter 7: Ghosts

   

Chapter 8: Lost and Found

   

SUMMARY: How does Jarrett define FAMILY at this point in the story?

   

 

 

 

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Dr. Katie Monnin is the Director of Education at Pop Culture Classroom in Denver, Colorado.  She has written dozens of articles, curricula, reviews, lesson plans, and 8 books about teaching graphic novels, animation, video games, social media and other pop culture topics in the classroom.