Monday, November 26, 2012

Junior Kroll

Title: Junior Kroll
Author: Betty Paraskevas
Illustrator: Michael Paraskevas
Copyright Date: 1993
Genre: poetry
Theme: humor, family
Grades: 2-4


In this collection of poems, readers will meet a boy named Junior Kroll who proves to be as rambunctious, unique, and surprisingly sweet little kid as you'll ever meet. You will follow him as he interacts with his equally bizarre family, including his crazy great dane Max, his poker playing grandfather, and his teddy bear taking cousin.

What crazy adventures will Junior Kroll get into? Read this book to find out. 

Pre-reading Activity

The poems in this collection are all about the characters. It would be good to do a mini-lesson on characterization, both direct and indirect. Go over how the poet can just say how the character is and how describing their actions and words helps give the reader a full sense of who the character is and what they are like. 

During Reading Activity

During the reading have students keep track of Junior Kroll's characterization, using the information they learned in the pre-reading activity. Have them keep track of Junior's qualities, adding to the lists with each poem, and how the information was presented (directly or indirectly). Maybe share the new items on the list after each poem, especially if you are going to split the poems up over the course of several classes. 

Post-reading Activity

After reading through the collection of poems and gaining a better understanding who Junior is as a person, this would be a good opportunity for students to synthesize what they've learned from the various poems into a character analysis piece. They can either write a paragraph or a visual (such as a cut out of Junior with qualities written inside), where they explain who Junior is and back it up with examples. 

Author and Illustrator

Before becoming a children's book writer, Betty Paraskevas was a lyricist and playwright for broadway shows, working on plays such as No No Nannette. She was convinced to write her first book, On the Edge of the Sea, by her illustrator son Michael. After that one, she would go on to write almost twenty children's books, including four collections of Junior Kroll books and creating the Maggie and the Ferocious Beast books. She passed away in 2010. (Sources: book jacket and here)

Michael Paraskevas was already an illustrator prior to illustrating this book. Along with being the illustrator of every one of his mother's books, Michael has illustrated for other authors, such as On My Way to the Bath by Sarah Maizes. He is also an author in his own right, writing and illustrating the books, Taffy Saltwater's Yummy Summer Day and L.A. Times. He is the co-creator of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. (Sources: book jacket and here)


Along with Shel Silverstein, Junior Kroll dominated poetry during my childhood. Looking back on it as an adult and educator I can better appreciate the humor and sentimentality found in each poem. You can't help but fall in love with this precocious young boy, even if he puts frosting spiders on birthday cakes. I can't recommend this book enough.  

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here and if you want more Junior Kroll, look into getting his other three collections: Junior Kroll and Company, Junior Kroll, Esquire, and A Very Kroll Christmas

No comments:

Post a Comment