Comic Brer Rabbit

After reading dozens of Brer Rabbit Tales, we are ready to retell them in our own way – as graphic stories created using a super cool Mac program called Comic Life.    In addition to illustrations, graphic novelists have to think carefully about panels, speech and thought bubbles, sound effects, narration, and what might be happening in the “gutter”.  We learned how to scan images and manipulate every element of a comic page from the font to the panel shape.  We are drawing all of our images and find that we can change how they look in the digital world with the press of a button. We will crop, zoom in, and layer to get the look we want.  It is really important to stay true to the stories so we are also experimenting with tone, accent, and language to really capture the voice of these timeless Southern stories.  Watch out for our final versions!

Coming Soon:


Brer Rabbit is loose in Younge House!

Now Brer Rabbit was skipping down the road one day heading for his home in the briar patch when he…jumped through the door of Younge House!

We have begun reading the tales of this trickster character and are enjoying his many mischievous adventures.   Did you know that these classic American folktales originated in Africa? They were brought over during the time of slavery and have been passed down by storytellers ever since. We have our favorites (which you will soon see us illustrating for our Brer Rabbit comics) – here are a few sites so you can find one too:

Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby and More

The Wren’s Nest offers audio of different Storytellers telling the tales

Prince Found Guilty!

In a nail-biting landmark court case, judges passed a mixed verdict after considering whether the Prince and his soldiers were guilty of violating the 4th amendment when they rudely barged in on several local households demanding they try on shoes and marry him. Both the defense and prosecution were unafraid to ask the really tough questions, bringing in several key witnesses from the surrounding realm. The defense maintained that the Prince actually knocked and would not have forced anyone to marry him under duress; the prosecution found evidence to the contrary.

This trial was conducted during Law Class by Dr. Judy Stetcher.

Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Witnesses are sworn in:

Neighbors make their case:

The Prince testifies:

The Judges listen carefully:

A Fairy Tale is a Cindy Tale When….

there is an overworked, outcast main character who is usually (too) pretty and kind

their parents are missing or dead

they have mean/jealous/evil stepsisters or stepparents

they go from rags to riches or riches to rags to riches

there is a big event and Cindy can’t go

there is a magical helper

Cindy transforms or becomes the star of the event

she (almost) misses a time deadline

there is a lost or missing object

there is a search for the owner of the lost object

there is a “slipper” test

there is royalty to aspire to

there is a happily ever after, usually a marriage or rise in status


Looking for glass slippers…and much much more

So where is the Younge House literary train headed now that our E.B. White study is complete? Next stop, CINDERELLA! We will be reading many variants of this very old and beloved tale, which can be found all over the world, in search of common motifs and examples of the various tale types. (Ask us what these new vocabulary words mean at the end of the week – we should know!) The Disney version may have been many the first experience of Cinderella for many of us, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Join in the fun by checking out the movies below on YouTube:
Betty Boop: Poor Cinderella
A Coach for Cinderella

Comparing the Novels of E.B. White

We are currently preparing for our concluding E.B. White project. Many of us have read all three of E.B. White’s novels for children, along with several articles and essays by and about the author. We have started to look for similarities in theme across all three novels. We first met in book groups depending on whether we had focused on Trumpet of the Swan or Stuart Little as our second EB novel. We created charts that showed the similarities and differences. Then as a class we developed a larger Venn diagram that looked at all three books.

So what did we decide these books have in common?

  • Each book features many different types of animals.
  • The animals display human characteristics.
  • The animals have friendly relationships with children who take care of them.
  • In each book, a life is in danger and then it is saved.
  • Each book has an element of adventure and adventurous characters.
  • There are deep, caring friendships and lots of love.
  • Each book develops the themes of change and life and death

We are currently writing essay paragraphs on the many similarities we have found. Next we will take these ideas and, inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell, create E.B. White themed collage boxes. Stay tuned for some well-thought out art work!

E.B. White – some writer!

To kick off the literary year, Younge House has undertaken a study of beloved author E.B. White. We enjoyed his children’s classic, Charlotte’s Web, and then delved into his other novels, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan. Meanwhile in class, we are also reading other articles he has written, some on these works, as well as articles written about him, deepening our understanding of White’s life, motivations, and writing process. So what have we found out?

E.B. White was born in Mt. Vernon, NY on July 11, 1899. His father thought he was a lucky baby because he was born on the 11th day of the 7th month. He died on October 1, 1985 of Alzheimer’s disease.

His entire name was Elwyn Brooks White, but people called him “Andy” because the president of Cornell University was named Andrew White, and students with that last name earned the nickname.

He married Katharine White. They met while working at The New Yorker. They had one son named Joel.

E.B. White had a farm in Maine and raised animals, including pigs, on it.

He once found a spider, watched it form an egg sac, took both the spider and the egg sac home, and witnessed the birth of the baby spiders.

E.B. was the 6th child and youngest in his family. (Wilbur was also a “runt”.)

Our E.B. White fact board is certainly growing. Do you have any
facts for us to add?