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Ages 13+ | Middlewest Book One (Image Comics)

Middlewest
Published by: Image Comics
Written by: Skottie Young
Illustrated by: Jorge Corona, Mike Huddleston
ISBN: 9781534312173
Ages: 16+

Review

“The wind is so violent here.
I hate it.
Sometimes I feel like it hates me.
Like it might just pick me up and blow me away." 

Farmington is a small town, just like any other small town. It’s pretty predictable, and everyday seems like the next.

On the day the story opens, however, Farmington is about to have an off day speared on by a father and son’s argument about responsibility. Abel has slept through his morning paper route. As a result, his dad receives a few unhappy calls from Abel’s customers.

Scarred by a wife and mother who have left him a single parent to a young Abel, Abel’s dad (Dale) gets pretty upset about his son’s lack of responsibility on this particular day. In fact, when they argue something supernatural starts to occur within Dale. Scared of his father’s anger, Abel begins his Saturday with his father’s thoughts in mind: Finish the paper route and return home.

Along the way, strong, gusty winds blow all of Abel’s newspapers off into the distance, and he can’t finish his paper route. Knowing his dad will not be happy about this, Abel ends up staying away from home and hanging out with his friends. Not a trouble-making kid on most days, Abel and his friends get caught stealing from Randall’s Liquor store and his dad comes to pick him up.

When they get home, Dale is so furious with Abel that his supernatural powers take over again, and he becomes the biggest storm that Farmington has ever seen.

During the argument Dale strikes Abel through the chest and Abel starts glowing as well. With his chest glowing from an unknown feeling he needs time to identify, Abel runs away with his friend the fox and ends up traversing the land trying to understand why he is glowing, and who can help him figure it all out.

Elements of Story

Plot: Abel has slept through his morning paper route in Farmington and his dad is not too happy about it. After a day spent without delivering newspapers and hanging out with his friends, Abel gets caught stealing and his father’s anger blows up into a ferocious storm that levels their town. Deciding his dad is too angry to be reasonable with him, Abel sets off alone with his fox friend to discover who he is inside and why his dad is so angry.

Major Characters: Abel, Abel’s Dad Dale, Mr. Greene, Mrs. Kael, the Simmonses, the fox, Courtney, Randall, Josh, Caw, Jeb/Jebediah, crow, Magdalena, Kori, Sheriff, Troll, Bobby, Kyle, Wrench, John, Jeanie, Sue, Maggie

Major Settings: the Middlewest, Abel’s house, Randall’s Liquor, Kinzer’s house, trailer park, train, Strawn County, Farmington, Jeb’s home, Gibson City, Sparland, hospital, covered bridge, Hurst Family Amazing Amusements, Leewood, Overland

Themes: Responsibility, Traveling, Anger, Quests, Wind and Weather, Fathers & Sons

Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the

Common Core Standards (CCS) for Young Adults

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3

Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

*  The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org

Lesson Plan Directions:

In order to analyze the impact of the story’s dramatic emphasis, students can read with Post-it Notes in hand. Anytime students find important information about the story’s settings, action sequences, and character development they should place a Post-it Note on the page and label it as follows: “SS” for story settings, “AS” for action sequence’, and “CD” for character development. After labeling their Post-it Notes with one of the three choices, students can then add more specific and contextual information underneath the label.

Since the story will be a series, ask students to reread through all of their Post-it Notes. Once they get to the end of their Post-it Notes, and with those contextual notes in mind, ask students to write / draw what they think will be the beginning of the next book in the series.