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BOOK REVIEWS, Early/Young Readers, Magical.Ghosts.Supernatural, STAR OF THE NORTH NOMINEE, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA by Muon Van…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

in a village by the seaIn a Village By the Sea was an unexpected treasure for me!  Both the text and the illustrations are built around the basic “house that Jack built…” story structure:

In a fishing village by the sea

there is a small house.


In that house

high above the waves

is a kitchen.


In that kitchen…

The story builds from this slow, uneventful beginning, to a painted masterpiece by a cricket in the wall of this ordinary house, to circle around again to the fisherman lost in a storm at sea and the family who waits for him…in the house…in a village by the sea.

Taken by itself the text may seem bland, but when Muon Van’s words are combined with April Chu’s striking illustrations In a Village By the Sea comes vividly to life in this magnificent picture book.  Not only would I use this as a read-aloud in a pre-school or primary classroom and at home, I would use it in older classrooms (3rd-6th Grade) to demonstrate, teach and create classic story structures using words or pictures–or both.


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