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Amulet Book Six: Escape from Lucien

Amulet Book Six: Escape from LucienAmulet Book Six: Escape from Lucien
Written by: Kazu Kibuishi
Illustrated by: Kazu Kibuishi
Publisher: Graphix
Format: Softcover, 6 x 9, 256 pages, Full Color, $12.99
ISBN: 978-0-54543-315-0

Review

First things first: Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series is ten times better than Harry Potter. It belongs in every school, every home, and most certainly deserves its own theme park.

If you regularly read this column you are probably accustomed to my writing style; I try to write honestly about my own take on each graphic novel. I also try to write with both kids and educators (including parents) at the forefront of my mind. This month is no exception.  

As I write this review for Amulet 6 I am sitting in a little cafe inside of Universal Studios in Orlando, FL with my family. Sure I've had a great day. Picture this: since my significant other cannot ride roller coasters and things of that nature it's my job to be the Peter Pan adult with the kids. Total win for me, right? The kids and I have a special time together, and it's full of an enormous amount of thrilling fun.  

This afternoon, however, my significant other is taking her turn with the kids in the kiddie play land (she can handle Curious George's ball pit, especially when it comes to waving from outside the ropes). "Why?" you may ask.

On the car ride to Universal I was fortunate enough to have an advanced copy of Amulet 6 to read. As much as I too wanted to actually be in the ball pit and wave back at her I couldn't put off writing this review any longer. Even while at one of the most exciting places on the planet I couldn't wait one second longer to tell Diamond BookShelf readers about the page-turning, brilliant writing and illustrations found within the pages of Kazu Kibuishi's new Amulet Book Six: Escape from Lucien.  

For new readers: If you have yet to have the pleasure of reading Kibuishi's Amulet series you can easily start with book six, for every single graphic novel in the series is so well done it not only tells an ongoing, epic tale, but also stands alone.

For Kibuishi's legions of fans: Book six is completely worth the wait! If you're like me you've been licking your chops just to get your hands on a copy.  Well, wait no longer and feel free to raise your anticipation needle into the red, and all the way off the charts. If there were a title for the area off the charts for best graphic novel ever it would be titled: "Wickedly Awesome." This is where Book 6: Escape from Lucien would find its home, perhaps even breaking the whole machine down as it tries to move further past the "Wickedly Awesome" label.  You be the judge. Feel free to email me and share your thoughts. I can't wait to hear what you think: k.monnin@unf.edu.

Ok, Dr. Monnin, please tell us something about the story. Sorry, I'm just so excited. And, trust me, I'm not only at Universal Studios sharing this with you. I'm also ignoring my 2-page to-do list of writing gigs. Really, it's that good . . .

A mature master of her powers, Emily is a trusted leader of loyal Elves, citizens from every single city and place she and her family have visited throughout the series, including Ceilis and Lucien. Younger brother Navin, however, is still in flight school and despite the rumor that he is a young prodigy in the making he himself struggles to believe the rumors. According to Navin his poor flight school test proved him right. The rumors are wrong.  

Or are they? Taking center stage in book six Navin’s epic journey receives more attention than his sister's. With the Elf King looming and ready to destroy anyone who stands against him, including a character he secretly finds out is a traitor, Navin plays perhaps the most critical role in saving everyone, both above and below ground. Will he prove up to the task? Or will he fail, just like he did his school exams?

With new characters entering the story, like my two favorites "Riva" and "General Pil," readers only have a month to wait, for this graphic novel gem releases on August 26th. If I were you I would pre-order my copy even before reading the rest of this review and lesson plan.

Elements of Story

Plot: The Elf King secretly knows that one of his moles is actually a traitor. He's pretty mad about that. And, as a result, he's ready to take over everyone and every place he can find. Stonekeeper Emily must stand as a trusted leader and representative of all people.  Emily's younger brother Navin, however, must prove himself. Can he be the key catalyst to save everyone from the Elf King's destructive and evil plans?

Characters: Emily, Navin, Emily and Navin's Mom, Max, Elf King, Logi, Aly, the Shadows, Balax, Miskit, Riva, Father Charles, Vigo, Captain Tristan, Leon, Luger, Trellis, Rico, The Voice(s), Doctor Weston, Layra, Enzo, Robert Joseph, Trisha Spring, Kronos, Silas, Sybrian, General Pil, Patrick

Settings: Lucien, The Void, Royal House of Elves, Lucien, the abyss below Lucien, Valcor, Luna Moth

Themes: Leadership, Good and Evil, Heroes and Villains, Friendship, Loyalty, Growth and Maturity

Literary Pairing Suggestions: Jeff Smith's Bone series, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, C.S. Lewis' Narnia series


Recommended Common Core Standards*

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually

*Even though this is a Language Arts, Reading Common Core Standard for grades 6 – 12, Amulet 6 can be read in lower grades as well. In that case, I still recommend that educators focus on the integration of knowledge and ideas in this graphic novel, especially in terms of characterization and what students read in text and see in images.


Lesson Plan:

Directions: Amulet 6 is loaded with diverse characters that make critical decisions regarding good and evil, heroes and villains. For that reason, this lesson plan will offer students a list of key characters to focus on.  Underneath each character's name students will also find the four themes just mentioned: good, evil, hero, and villain.  

As students read the graphic novel they should pay particular attention to each of these key characters. Each time they read about one of these characters they need to decide whether the character is demonstrating good, evil, hero, and/or villain tendencies. Next to however they feel the character is behaving students should list the page number and reason (BOTH TEXTUALLY AND/OR VISUALLY) why or how the character is acting good or evil, or like a hero or a villain.  


CHARACTERS AND THEMES:
INTEGRATING TEXT AND IMAGES WHILE READING A GRAPHIC NOVEL


Emily
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


NAVIN
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


MAX GRIFFIN
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


ELF KING
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


ALY
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:



RIVA
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


ROBERT JOSEPH
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


THE SHADOWS
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


SILAS
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


VIGO
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:


GENERAL PIL
➢ GOOD:


➢ EVIL:


➢ HERO:


➢ VILLAIN:



Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida.  Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014).  When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.