Thursday, October 20, 2011
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
I got behind on my reading blog this week because I had book reviews due today. I got them sent in by about 2:00, so now I can catch up on my blog.
The City of Ember is not a new book, and I have read it before. I read it again this week because it was the topic of my after school program today. It was fun to read it again. It really is a interesting and well crafted story with a somewhat fresh premise. Lina lives in a world where the only light comes from street and house lamps, and most of the food comes from cans. It is the only world she has ever known, so she doesn't recognize the importance of small changes in her city. Some light bulbs go out and aren't replaced, and some kinds of food are no longer available at the stores. With the help of a friend, a boy named Doon, she begins to realize that her city is in danger of running out of everything. She and Doon decide they need to find a way out of Ember and find a better, brighter place they have both dreamed about.
It is fun to imagine what life in an underground city might be like. At my after school program today, I had the kids paint pictures of what they thought Ember might be like with glow-in-the-dark paint. Then we had a black light for them to shine on their pictures. As I made the sample of a picture, I just naturally drew the houses with slanted roofs. Then I thought, wait, if there was no rain or snow, there would be no reason for houses to have pitched roofs. This book makes you think about what life might be like in a different and strange environment. It is a tribute to the staying power of this book that even now, 8 years after its publication, all 15 copies of the book that the Library owns are checked out. (270 p)