Friday, June 18, 2004
Paolini, Christopher. 2003. ERAGON. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375826688 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
As Eragon hunts in the mystical mountains, he finds a polished blue stone. He hopes his discovery on the Spine will bring much needed money so he can provide meat for himself and his bullheaded uncle, Garrow. Eragon cannot find anyone who will take the stone, thinking it might be cursed because of where it was found. But when the stone brings about a baby dragon, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon the legacy of the dragon riders. Eragon falls in love with the creature that takes the name Saphira. Overnight Eragon is banished from his simple life and placed into a perilous journey. Eragon’s uncle and home have been destroyed so he joins with a storyteller Brom in order to search out his revenge. The young protagonist learns about exile, magic, love, and his own destiny as he endures battles, wounds, captures, and escapes.
Eragon is a must for fantasy lovers. When the story begins it is grounded firmly in reality, but when a blue stone is found and hatches into a dragon, the story makes a smooth transition to a secondary world. The story contains all the classic elements of fantasy: an event at the beginning starts a series of situations and adventures, love, magic, good verses evil, and coming of age. The plot moves along through the hardships Eragon must endure while he is on his quest to avenge the death of his uncle and save the last of a species. The journey Eragon takes leads him through lands that are unfamiliar but are so vividly described that the reader can see, hear, and feel the setting. This is a book you need a weekend for because it cannot be put away until it is finished.
Each student selects a modern fantasy to read and then writes a synopsis of the story. Working in peer editing groups, they revise their synopsis. Students then select a traditional fantasy story and rewrite the story with a modern twist. Demonstrating effective verbal and nonverbal communication, students read their stories to the class.
When studying fantasy, students can experiment with the different medium (e.g., collage montage, and mosaics) to create their own illustrations.
Students could use a graphic organizer to compare two fantasy stories focusing on characteristics and categories of modern fantasy.
Other stories about dragons and magical powers:
Funke, Cornelia. INKHEART. ISBN 0439531640
McCaffrey, Anne and Todd McCaffrey. DRAGON’S KIN. ISBN 0345461983
Stroud, Jonathan. BARTIMAEUS THRILOGY BOOK ONE: THE AMALET OF SAMARKAND. ISBN 078681859X
By Jill Howell