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BB Wolf and the Three LPs

BB Wolf and the Three LPsBB Wolf and the Three LPs
By: JD Arnold and Richard Koslowski
Publisher: IDW Publishing/Top Shelf Productions
Format: Hardcover, 6 x 9, 96 pages, Black and White, $12.95
ISBN: 978-1-60309-029-2

I wanted to start this review with a bang!  Like a superhero punch – "BANG!" – I wanted to knock you over with verbal blasts about the amazing graphic novel story entitled BB Wolf and the Three LPs. I wanted to put you in my shoes – someone who studies, reads and adores graphic novels for a living – and let you feel just how impressed I was when I read this particular graphic novel. Despite myself, however, I could not find the right words to explain my feelings. So I opened this graphic novel to read it again, become inspired all over again. The first thing I saw knocked me out with a figurative "BANG."

BB Wolf and the Three LPs was published in 2010!  

"How," I wondered, "has this gem, this treasure eluded my notice for over two years?"

After I woke up from that figurative knock-out "BANG!", I thought, Well, Katie, that's the point of a treasure hunt, isn't it? Unexpectedly and with twists and turns we cannot predict when and where we find treasures. That’s why we seek to find them. We enjoy the clues, we appreciate the journey, and we love the feeling of finding that seemingly elusive treasure.

With that appreciation and adoration in mind, and a more overwhelming respect for this graphic novel, I don't want to offer you any clues about what you will find in the pages of this graphic novel. Instead, I want to offer you and your students a potential treasure map of your own. So here it is: Google search, visit your local library, stop by your favorite bookstore and seek out this graphic novel. I guarantee you will find a treasure.    

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: BB Wolf is an ordinary farmer and family man by day. Sure, he may have one drink too many, or hang out too much at the local tavern where he plays the blues. But at the end of the day, he’s a nice guy (or wolf). He's simply living out one man’s (or wolf's) American dream. That is, until, the money-mongering Three LPs show up and claim right to not only his land, but also (as a repercussion) his life.  

Setting: Money, Mississippi, East St. Louis, Chicago, IL, Choctaw County Prison in 1920

Major Characters: BB Wolf, Ma, the little pups/little 'uns/cubs, the Three LPs (Mr. Alouissius Littlepig, Mr. Beauregard Littlepig, Mr. Carrington Littlepig, "Big Bad Pig"s), Loopy, Pappy, Mistah Kalua, Big Jack and Lon, Remus, Molly, Chains, Foxy, Father

Themes: Truth, Historical Fact, Fiction, and/or Legend, Identity, Relationships, Family

Traditional Literature Pairing Suggestions: Toni Morrison's Beloved, Richard Wright's Native Son or Black Boy, Ralph Elison's Invisible Man, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, various and historical versions of the story of the three little pigs, James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain

Some Teaching Recommendations For High School English Language Arts

Suggested Alignment to the IRA /NCTE Standard(s):*
- standard #s correspond to the numbers used by IRA/NCTE

1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.  

2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
 
7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Suggested High School Level Lesson Plan:

Typically, I start my lesson plans by asking teachers and librarians to preview the graphic novel they will be sharing with their students.  For this lesson plan, however, I would like to advise teachers and librarians to first read JD Arnold’s Afterword with their students (which can be found on page 89). After reading the Afterword, teachers, librarians, and students are now ready to read the graphic novel itself, for Arnold’s Afterword sets the stage for them to focus on the critical, historically significant themes imperative to reading and understanding this graphic novel.  

After reading the Afterword and as they read the graphic novel ask students to complete Figure 1.

Figure 1 presents questions that will be imperative for teachers, librarians and students to consider as they learn and reflect on this graphic novel and its historical significance.

What are the main events in this story?

Who are the main characters?

What are some of the main themes that inform  or influence the story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking the key events, characters, and themes into consideration, why do you feel as though this graphic novel is historically significant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of the lessons we can learn – as a modern reading audience – from BB Wolf and the Three LPs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When students are done reading this graphic novel, teachers and librarians can ask students to conduct research – using technology and other various media publications – on the truth and historical accuracy of this graphic novel. It would be wise to inform students that they may want to take notes on what they find (and also document their sources).

When they have had sufficient time to conduct this research teachers and librarians can next ask students to fill out Figure 2, which outlines the questions that will help students focus their research thoughts and reflections on the historical accuracy and insights presented in BB Wolf and the Three LPs.  

Figure 2 presents some questions for students to consider in regards to what constitutes the "truth" in this graphic novel, and, perhaps more importantly, what constitutes historical accuracy and insight.

What is the truth? What constitutes historical accuracy/insight? And what do we find when we conduct research on this story?

Figure 2 presents students, teachers, and librarians with critical research questions for exploring BB Wolf and the Three LPs.

In terms of this graphic novel and your own research, what do you see as "the truth" in this graphic novel?

In terms of this graphic novel and your own research, what constitutes historical accuracy / insight?

Considering the graphic novel itself, alongside your own research, what are your final thoughts on this graphic novel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.