Saturday, June 4, 2011

As Meggy Swan Would Say, "Eat Toads and Vipers!"

Book Videos TV, (2010). Alchemy and Meggy Swan [Web]. Available from

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman, (2010)
Interesting Fact: This is book can be classified as historical fiction as it depicts London in 1573. 
About the Book: Meggy Swan is a 13-year old girl whom is sent away to London by her mother and is unwanted by her alchemist father.  Her Granny was the only person who has cared for her and unfortunately she has died.  Her only friend upon her arrival in London is a long time pet goose named Luis whom like her is also disabled.  Meggy was born disabled and therefore needs sticks to help her walk.  The setting of the story takes place during a time when disabled people were treated with little or no respect because of the belief that their disability was caused by sin, God’s punishment, or being possessed by demons.  Due to the constant judgment she faces, Meggy has made developed a rude and cold attitude towards others.  That is why she struggles to recognize true friends when she does find them.  These friends unknowingly aid her in a transformation that even she doesn’t realize is happening.  Meggy discovers that a murderous plan in which her alchemist father is involved and she is torn between keeping silent or speaking up.  Although Meggy is limited in physical strength, her decision proves that she is strong in courage!
Why read it?There is a lack of disabled characters in literature and this is an example of one that is strong willed and courageous.  It can also help us evaluate our view of those that have physical limitations.
Why listen to the audio book instead?The accents provide more of a vivid picture of what is happening in the story.  The different voices that the narrator takes on and the singing are much more enjoyable when you do not have to make them up in your head.  It would be a plus to have students follow along as they listen.

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