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Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland

Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland
Written by Alexis E. Fajardo
Illustrated by Alexis E. Fajardo
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Format: Softcover, 6 x 9, 280 pages, $12.99
ISBN: 9781449475901

Review

In the second installment of Kid Beowulf: Song of Roland Alexis Fajardo brings all of his literary expertise to the forefront.  Building on the story of twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel, who have just learned about the origins of their birth, Fajardo takes this epic trilogy to the next level.  In the second graphic novel Beowulf and Grendel are ousted from their homeland and seek a sanctuary in France with their Uncle Holger. 

Confident in their decision, the twin brothers arrive only to find that France is in chaos.  The King is feeble.  The kingdom’s knights are in exile.  And the beloved and supposed hero Roland just doesn't seem to be living up to his notoriety.  With a threatening Saracen army approaching for an upcoming invasion the twins must not only learn to get along with each other, but also bring an entire country together to ward off the threat. 

Fajardo brings new life to the classic title of Beowulf in this 21st century rendering of the epic tale.  With a charming sense of wit, humor, and an engaging host of characters this unforgettable read is sure to make its way onto many students “Favorite Reads” list in years to come.  Without a doubt Kid Beowulf rises to the challenge of competing with its legendary namesake.  Who knows, it may even become its own legendary tale and be told in centuries to come, just like its predecessor.  

Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Twin brothers Beowulf and Grendel are banished from their homeland and seek asylum in France with their Uncle Holger; seeking refuge proves more difficult than they thought, however, when they arrive to find their Uncle’s kingdom in chaos. 

Major Characters: Abul-Abaz, Anseis, Belisande, Beowulf, Berenger, Bradamant, Bramimonde, King Charlemagne, Dargaud, Emer, Ermlaf, Ganelon, Marsilion, Ogier (Holger), Oliver, Pepin, Renaud, Rodomont, Rogero, Roland, Turpin

Major Settings: Francia, Daneland, Geatland, Brittania, Italia, Africa, Germania, Hispania

Themes: Family, War, Alliances, Conflict and Resolution, Heroes, Motivation, Problem Solving

Lesson Plan Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards for Middle and/or High School Readers

Common Core Standard(s)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.2

Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.* **

* The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core       Standards.

* A Common Core Standard for High School is used because Kid Beowulf: Song of Roland is appropriate for both high school and middle school (both of which are covered in the standard above).  

Lesson Idea for Middle School and/or High School Readers

Directions: Kid Beowulf: Song of Roland is rich with three key elements of story: theme(s), character(s), and plot(s).  In order to assess student comprehension ask students to fill out the following graphic organizer after reading. 

In the top row students select two themes that they feel best reflect their reading of the story.  In the second row students identify the characters that best relate to that theme.  In the third row students should detail the specific elements of plot(s) that link to the selected characters, and, ultimately, the top two themes.

When finished with all three rows, students can connect anything they feel is overlapping or relevant to more than one idea by inserting purposeful arrows. 

  Theme 1 Theme 2 Connections
Theme(s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Character(s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
Plot(s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

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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 (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). 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 three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.