recess radio program

12/13/04
Stephen King Pops Up
    by Cathlena Martin

 

When one discusses the author Stephen King's stories, horror resounds. Whether it is the horror of a bloodthirsty car in Christine, a maniac clown in It, or a hysterical teenager covered in pig's blood in Carrie, most adults experience heart pounding terror through his tales. King retains a position in the literary and pop culture world as a master of the horror genre, a genre he has proliferated with countless books and movie spin offs. Yet while he is the potentate of horror, King is expanding his vast writing domain to the children's book section. His first young adult novel, The Eyes of the Dragon is a fantasy book that he wrote for his daughter based in a fairy tale kingdom with Princes and Magicians that would appeal to adolescents. However, now Stephen King has branched into a new field of children's literature, picture books, and not just your run of the mill picture books. His newest book The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a pop-up book based on his novel of the same name and told in baseball game innings. Trisha, a 9-year-old girl on a hiking trip with her family, goes exploring and becomes lost in the Maine woods surrounding the Appalachian Trail. Wasps attack her, hunger sets in and her only companion becomes the Red Sox game she can pick up on her Walkman. The text goes into explicit detail of her trails, such as when the worst physical symptoms of diarrhea and nausea set in. Then she begins to be delirious and see her favorite Red Sox player, Number 36 Tom Gordon. He walks with her and she talks to him while catching fish, wandering around lost, and in general hallucinating about three gods in robs. She fears the "God of the Lost" who looms over her as a ravenous black bear that ferociously pops out of the woods, and book, with bloody claws and bared teeth. At the last minute as she faces off with the nightmarish bear, a shot rings out and a local hunter slays the bear in order to rescue the lost little girl. In the final inning of the book, Trisha survives and the reader leaves her in the hospital surrounded by family to recover from the frightening event of being lost in the woods for an extended period of time.

Stephen King's novel that started as a horror tale for mature adults has been adapted by Peter Abrahams into a 3-D pop-up books for "fans of all ages," according to the back of the book. However, I would not recommend this pop-up book for extremely young elementary school age children or normal age recipients of pop-up books. Instead, for an uplifting pop-up for children of all ages, try Robert Sabuda's adaptation of American the Beautiful or The Night Before Christmas this holiday season. They truly provide exciting mechanical texts that the whole family can enjoy and marvel over.

Copyright 2004 Cathlena Martin

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