Happiness is going out to dinner with your daughter. Happiness is going to the Tattered Cover after dinner with a long lost gift card burning a hole in your pocket. Happiness is finding David Shannon's book Jangles: A Big Fish Story on the shelves! I read the first page, I read the last few pages... and I plopped the book into my shopping pile! Then I got home...
"When the sun goes down and the weather's just right, Big Lake gets smooth as glass and a thin mist whispers across it. That's when you might catch a glimpse of Jangles..." This book is about the embellished fishing tale of Jangles, the elusive fish, that haunts the fishing minds of every fisherman. You know Jangles don't you? He's the fish we all want to catch. He's the "one that got away." He's the one who swims through the lakes with fishing lures and hooks decorating his jaws... "They clinked and clattered as he swam. That's why he was called Jangles."
But in true David Shannon brilliance there's a strange "hook" at the end of the story. I'm telling you, my jaw dropped when I read it! Dropped like a lead sinker.
I can't wait to share this book with my 4th graders. And if anyone doubts that narrative text isn't alive and well and living and breathing in the hearts and minds of readers, they need to read this book. As teachers, we need to remember that this kind of writing is breathtaking. Important. And, given the spin in today's writer's workshops (you know what I mean), we need to ask, "Is that more important than doing what is right?"
I'm starting a study of "evoking sensory images" this week and this book has made it onto the planning guide for my study. THIS is the kind of writing that makes me happy to be a reader and a writer.
Happiness is, after all, finding a book you love and can't wait to share... hook, line, and sinker!