by William Alexander
When ever I get a chance, I like to go listen to storytellers. There is something different about the experience of hearing a story rather than reading it. I may have mentioned if before, but my son regularly surprises me my saying, "Mom, in this book I heard..." He is an avid user of the audio book. I must say, for me, getting to listen to a story is luxurious, especially if it is told by a master story teller.
With this idea in mind, I am always on the look out for a story that would make a good read-a-loud. It would be hard for me to list the elements a book must contain in order to be included on such a list, but my interest in reading the book again must be one of them. I believe the best story readers are familiar with the text and can play all of the parts convincingly.
I have just finished a great read-a-loud book, Goblin Secrets by William Alexander. In it, we meet a young orphan, Rownie, a small version of his older brother's name Rowan. He inherited the name for he was given none as a baby. When we first meet young Rownie, he is living with his grandmother Graba. His life is meager and lonely, as his brother is missing. Graba isn't really is grandmother. She is the witch of Southside and she takes in orphans to do her bidding. As you might guess, Rownie has special qualities that make him less than content in his life with Graba and the Grubs. While on an errand for Graba, Rownie makes a choice that will forever change the course of his life.
Alexander has created some particularly loveable and despicable characters. The conversations in the story are lively and keep the story moving along smoothly. When I read this book to children in 3rd-5th grade, I am sure this carefully constructed story will roll off my tongue and entertain my audience. I am just as sure that new facets of the story will reveal themselves with each read so I look forward to sharing this one many times.