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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg

AR Level: 3.8
AR Points: 0.5
AR Quiz Number: 64293
Page Count: 32

If you have been paying attention, you know that I have great admiration for Chris Van Allsburg's writing and illustrations. Just a few weeks back I planned to share his classic Jumanji with a group of students and decided to read up a bit on it prior. I remember having it read to me as a child. It is a book that I grew up with...and all this time I never knew that Zathura was meant as a follow up book. Ten years after the Jumanji movie came out in 1995, a movie about Zathura followed. I knew the story was also by Van Allsburg, but looking at the outer space action in the movie trailer, I just wasn't that interested and never picked up the book. That is until a few months ago when I finally figured out that Zathura and Jumanji are related (geez, get with the program Ms. Smith!).

Written in 2002, Zathura arrived a full 20 years after it's predecessor, Jumanji. Picking up where Jumanji left off, we follow the Budwing brothers and their adventure with the mysterious and dangerous board game box. This time, the brothers uncover a second board game jammed into the bottom of the box. Echoing Jumanji's jungle adventure, the Budwing brothers are in for a mighty surprise when their newly found space themed game comes to life around them, whisking them away on an out-of-this-world adventure.

With themes of working together, valuing family connections and time spent together, Zathura came off feeling much more forced to me than Jumanji did. While Jumanji allows for pauses and inference, I almost felt like Zathura was in a hurry to cram a story and moral in before the 32nd page. That being said, kids will still love this book, and as proof of such it has been checked out repeatedly for several weeks now after having baited my students with the cliffhanger at the end of Jumanji. Much like myself, my students want the story to continue and they love the idea of finding out what happens to those Budwing boys.

To learn more about Chris Van Allsburg's works, check out the website below : http://hmhbooks.com/chrisvanallsburg/index.html

or visit me at www.facebook.com/mssmithreads/