Thursday, October 18, 2012

Luke on the Loose

Title: Luke on the Loose
Author and Illustrator: Harry Bliss
Copyright Date: 2009
Genre: fiction (graphic novel)
Theme: city, children
Grades: K-2
Awards: Junior Library Guild Selection


A young boy named Luke went for a walk with his father in Central Park. When he notices a group of pigeons, he begins chasing after them, traveling across the city and causing all kinds of problems. Because of his running loose there is a traffic jam, dropped ice cream, and even an interrupted marriage proposal.

Where will the pigeons bring Luke to next and when will he ever stop chasing them? Read this book to find out.

Pre-reading Activity

You can tap students background knowledge on what a city is like and what they may find there, in order to help them to be better able to understand the setting of the story and identify the people, actions and objects found in the illustrations.

Post-reading Activity

In this book, there is little text, other than the dialogue and sound effects. It might be fun to try and use the illustrations in the book in order to create a picture book version of the story. This would involve students writing narration of the pictures to describe what is shown only through illustration in this format. This would help them practice proper sentence creation and sequencing without having to think of their own topics since they have the story already available to them as a scaffold. The list of city things from the pre-reading activity might serve as a useful word wall for their writing.

Author and Illustrator

Luke on the Loose is Harry Bliss’s very first graphic novel, but not his first as a cartoonist or illustrator. He has worked with award winner authors on books such as Which Would You Rather Be? and Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken, and works on the New Yorker as a cover artist and cartoonist. He currently lives in Vermont. (Source: about the author page)


Besides being a really fun, this book is a great example to use when introducing graphic novels to students. Teachers can easily show how to approach and read a graphic novel while not worrying about difficult formatting or overly complicated stories. Students learning English would also love this book as well, being able to use the pictures as context for the words, or to still understand the story if the words prove too difficult. I highly recommend this book for those introducing the graphic novel format.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

The book's publishing company, Toon Books, has a great lesson plan using a Reader's Theater about this book, available here. 

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