Friday, February 26, 2016

Spotlight Friday - the unreliable narrator 2.26.16

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

The unreliable narrator.  By definition it is a narrator that can't be trusted.  

What does it add to a story?  
  • Suspense 
  • Questioning  
  • An aura of mystery
  • Intrigue  
Unreliable narrators:
  • make the reader wonder about the perspective
  • make the reader question the authenticity of what the narrator is saying
  • make the reader question the point of view
  • make the reader infer and draw conclusions
  • sometimes show clues of their true self
  • sometimes don't reveal who they are until the end, or at all
Two books to show the unreliable narrator:

Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
Snappsy the Alligator Did Not Ask to be in This Book! 
by Julie Falatko
illustrated by Tim Miller
By the second layout, we can tell we have an unreliable narrator, as Snappsy talks directly to the reader, questioning why the narrator is saying incorrect things.  From there on out, we see discrepancies between what Snappsy says (through talk bubbles), what we see in the illustrations, and the narration of the story.  We see Snappsy going through his day with the running commentary from the narrator.  Once Snappsy decides to throw a party, that's when we start getting clues that perhaps Snappsy's decisions are being affected by the narrator.  Eventually, we get a glimpse of the narrator at the party scene.  If you aren't careful, you'll skip right past the scene!  The narrator is finally revealed to us at the end, with a sly comment leaving us wondering if the narrator had quietly coerced poor Snappsy with the party plans the whole time!

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Right away, the narrator in this story is different.  There is no interaction between the narrator and the main character of our story, the bear.  Narrating a sequential story, the reader learns what happened to the bear throughout the day.  It is not until over half way through the story, do we realize said sandwich from the title, is ours, the reader's.  And the bear is after it.  In fact, it's the bear that ate it.  Ate it and ran.  And then the narrator is revealed to us.  And it's not what we expected at all.  Not only are we surprised by the narrator, but a little clue is given to us that the narrator, who is already unreliable, may also be up to no good.

Need more books with an unreliable narrator to use with your class?  Check out Betsy Bird's post with some other excellent suggestions here.

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