Tuesday, April 1, 2014

PBD: The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley

Another of my favorite non-American author-illustrators is Colin Thompson. His detailed illustrations have always been a favorite among my students as they searched through the images for additional meanings to his stories. In the past few years, Thompson has begun collaborating with Amy Lissiat. The three picturebooks featured in today's review are computer modified illustrations and offer a unique perspective on the human condition .

A short excerpt from Life of Riley: 
"Human beings live for quite a long time and for a lot of that time we are not happy. We want to be taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, older and younger. We want our straight hair to be curly, our curly hair to be straight and our brown eyes to be blue. "

Many teachers have expressed concerns about the sophisticated nature of the narrative and the theme of wanting less and being critical of human desires portrayed in Life of Riley, but I have had great reactions and discussions with my college and elementary students about this picturebook. Give students excellent literature and allow them to think and share what they think and the rest will come easier.

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