Thursday, July 11, 2013
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi
Author & Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year: 1979
Location: Knox County Public Library- Halls
Awards: Caldecott Honor, NYT Best Illustrated, Horn Book Award
Summary: Alan is dog-sitting for the bad-tempered dog Fritz when he runs away into the gardden of the dog hating magician Abdul Gasazi. Alan chases after Fritz and soon comes upon Gasazi's mansion. He goes to the door and politely asks for the dog to be returned to him. The magician takes Alan to a gathering of ducks and tells him that one of the ducks is Fritz who will eventually turn back into a dog. Alan takes the duck who steals his hat and flies away. When Alan gets back to Miss Hester's house, Fritz is there and she assures him that Mr. Gasazi couldn't really change the dog to a duck. But at the end, Fritz comes trotting up with Alan's hat..... Van Allsburg's black and white sketches are mesmerizing and make the reader want to go and visit the gardens and the house.
Classroom Ideas: This book could be used to discuss fantasy versus realistic fiction. It would also be interesting to do character studies of Alan and Fritz. How does Van Allsburg give Fritz such personality without him ever saying a word?
A teacher's guide from Houghton Mifflin: