A Public Service Announcement! ;)

A Public Service Announcement! ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pamela Antwine Reviews *The Swiss Family Robinson*

The Swiss Family Robinson is a great graphic novel. The story is about a family
traveling on a ship from England to Port Jackson, located in New South Wales. Their journey
on the ship becomes disastrous when they encounter a catastrophic storm.

I thought this graphic novel was great and effective for several reasons, including:
the easy flow of the dialogue, the sequence of events was timely, and the illustrations
were very effective. These were demonstrated on (pgs.44, 73).

In the graphic novel the character Fritz is the oldest of four sons, and appears to be a young man of sixteen. Fritz is able to take credit for his accomplishments on
several occasions. Most notable was when he felt his fate lay in the mouth of a shark. Young
Fritz had only been on the island for one day, and unaccustomed to shark attacks. The shark wasswimming towards Fritz when he was transporting the animals from the ship. As terrified as
Fritz was, he was able to shoot and wound the shark on his father’s command (p.29). Another
accomplishment was when Fritz captured and tamed an wild eagle (p.45).

The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel is fast-paced because the events happen
quickly. In the beginning of the story, the family is on a ship. By the middle of the
story the family is on a deserted island, and at the end of the story, the family has
survived all their trials and tribulations. The fast pace of a graphic novel is important
because it keeps the readers attention. It also keeps the reader wondering and guessing
what will happen next.

The story is optimistic, because through it all, the family survives. They
overcame a lot of obstacles when the ship was caught in the storm by remaining calm and
patient. Their demonstration of optimism came through when the family prayed, “ Our heads
were soothed by the comfort of childlike prayer, and the horrors of our situation seemed less
terrible.” Their faith and family unity helped strengthen their ability to remain optimistic.
Time and change were demonstrated when the boys first arrived at the island:
They were young boys, and vulnerable to their surroundings. They then changed into
men after being on the island for ten years (p.53). They spoke with optimism just after
their father had completed making each of them a pair of boots (p.41). “ Yes, we’ve had a
pretty eventful time since we landed here all those months ago” (p.42).

The family’s fate of leaving the island once seemed hopeless. But now the family
has a choice to leave or remain on the island. Each person chooses to seek their own
happiness and fulfillment. This is witnessed at the end of the graphic novel,
when the boys are deciding what the future holds for them. Fritz, now a man of twenty-six,
has decided to marry Montrose and move to England. Ernest the second oldest, who appeared
to be thirteen in the first part of the story, now probably a young man of twenty-three,
has chosen to remain with his parents on the island, and continue to study science. Jack the
third oldest son, who appeared to be ten in the beginning of the story, also chooses to remain on
the island as a rider, and shooter.

Frank, the youngest son, who appeared to be eight in the beginning of the story, decides to go to school in London (p.81). The young men made their life choices with such maturity and optimism. This was noted as they made a toast to “ New Switzerland,” then Jack who said, “ Long life and happiness to those who make New Switzerland their home!” the second toast came from Fritz“ three cheers for England and Colonel Montrose! Success and happiness to those of us who return to Europe!” (p.80). Although what the future holds is unknown, these young men seem mature enough to handle all that comes their way.

The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel deals with the emotions that are important to
young people. The novel demonstrates fearful situations and being able to overcome them. Most young adults at some point in their lives experience fear. In the novel there were incidents of the boys experiencing fear on the ship when the storm first came (p.5). They overcame their fear by going to the lower level of the ship where it was quiet, warm, and dry. Jack experienced fear
when he opened the closed captain’s door on the ship, and the attack dogs rushed towards him
and knocked him to the floor. Jack’s response was to hide his fear and remain calm and
everything worked out fine (p.10). Another important feeling young adults experience is

This was demonstrated when Ernest at age 13, was seeking approval from his father and
older brother Fritz. Ernest wanted to go hunting with them, but was not allowed because they felt he was too young. So one day they allowed Ernest to go hunting with them. Although the hunt was unsuccessful in capturing an animal, Ernest could not have been happier. He proved he was quite the hunter with his sharp instincts, and keen eye for spotting the wild animals. From then on Ernest, was always included in the hunt for wild animals. Young adults need to be able to read a graphic novel that deals with similar emotions they can identify with to maintain their interest and to be used as a teaching lesson.

The element missing of the young adult literature is the point of view of the of the young adults for the writing because the graphic novel was written from the point of view of the father. Another element missing is the absence of diversity of ethnicities and cultures because the family lived alone on the island for ten years. This graphic novel does meet the criteria for being considered young adult literature because it offers simplified words throughout the story. The quality of characters and setting are realistic and it reflects on the age of innocence embarking on a unfamiliar journey. The illustrations command your attention as does the story itself.

I would recommend this graphic novel because it demonstrates adventure,
family unity and a coming of age story. The novel makes good use of dialogue. The
sequence of events follows suit. The illustrations are very graphic and detail oriented.
This would be a great book for children ages eight through fourteen.

No comments: