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Listen Up! Come Back, Eric

Hi Friends,

Today we feature Eric, a short story from the book Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan:



Quick, draw a picture or describe with words what YOU imagined Eric to look like.

Now scrolll down to see the illustrations from the book:

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Does Eric look anything like you imagined?



Let's get down to business:


1. The author uses first person point of view in this story, so we (the reader) understand the story through just one character's perspective. Grab a paper & pencil, or talk to a friend/family member about how the story would be different if it was told through Eric's point of view instead. Next time you are bored, start narrating your life as if from 3rd person point of view. "Bookkitty sits at her computer, hunched over the glowing moniter, pausing periodically to consider what she has written. 'Too obtuse, our readers don't want to hear about the way a cat seems to understand physics.' She stretches & looks down at the ancient, rather obese cat that meanders around her feet. The cat skitters away, just out of reach, meowling over to her food dish.) Yah, something like that. It's REALLY fun to do it at the dinnertable, especially if you narrate with a loudish announcer voice: Bookkitty passes the mustard to her son. She divides a piece of broccoli on her plate into two sections: stem & floret. Now she picks up her fork, stabs a piece of broccoli. She lifts the fork up, higher & higher, oh no, it slips & falls back onto the table. Bookitty sighs, 'stupid broccoli' she thinks.

Heehee, ok. I think you get the idea.


2. Have you ever been somewhere totally new & confusing? It can take some time to get used to the language, culture & environment. It helps to have a friend explain things, doesn't it. What do you think the narrator means by saying "However, they weren't the kind of questions I was expecting." (You can look at the illustration posted above on page 11). What kinds of questions would you expect Eric to have asked? I really like that instead of stating the kinds of questions he asked, the author illustrates with expressive drawings. You can imagine what kind of voice or language Eric speaks, or maybe he just gestures silently. How would you describe to Eric what a stamp is or the letter Q?


3. What did you think about the ending of the story? Take a look at the illustration from the book that shows what Eric left for the family in the pantry:


Eric used bottle caps, egg shells, scraps of paper, marker lids as pots for little plants. Plants are a great gift. Gather some supplies & make yourself a paper plant. You could put it on your windowsill to brighten the room on a rainy day. Or hide it in the pantry to make someone in your home smile. You could pop it in the mail for a far away friend or give it to your teacher.





Toodleloo, Kangaroos


Today's book: Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan.

You can learn more about the author & illustrator at his website (prepare to be WOW'd because this guy is totally impressive!).

Thanks to Pexels contributers for providing awesome video clips.

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The Hampton Community Library would like to thank the Allegheny Regional Asset

District, the Township of Hampton, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,

and generous corporate/individual sponsors for their support.

E-mail Hampton Community Library

Web Address:  http://www.hamptoncommunitylibrary.org

3101 McCully Road

Allison Park, PA  15101

Phone:  (412) 684-1098

Fax:  (412) 684-1097

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