Monday, March 29, 2010

Initial thoughts on Skeleton Creek

Skeleton Creek, by Patrick Carman caught my interest at the NMLA conference in 2009 because it's a novel that integrates video. Not a novel that was made into a film, but a novel where the video is (supposed to be) integral to the continued understanding of the plot.

Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek, #1)This novel, though I hadn't read it yet, was the starting point for my dissertation topic: roughly--a discussion of how change in book presentation changes students' literacy needs. Skeleton Creek is supposed to be a scary story. When my students ask for a scary novel, usually whatever I give them isn't scary enough for their tastes. Maybe it's because they don't visualize. Maybe it's because they're so desensitized by the visual media they've grown up with that the pictures they form in their heads don't compare to what a filmmaker can do with camera angle, actor positioning and music. I don't know. But I've watched one of the videos that goes along with Carman's book already. It reminded me of the Blair Witch Project, which is a movie that creeped me out.

A drawback to presenting a book like this is that if you don't watch the video, you can't move on. Well, I'm on my second day stuck where I am in the novel because of testing and no computers on, and class and homework. It's unfortunate because I really want to continue. I'm thinking about reading on and seeing how important the video is to the story. Especially since my district doesn't like to stream video and blocks everything (rightfully so, they just found an undetectable virus).

More to come.

Carman, Patrick. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.

1 comment:

Sandra Stiles said...

I'm in a Title I school. Most of my students don't have computers at home. I read the first four or five pages of the book. I showed them the book trailer and then on our day in the lab I handed them the video codes. I told them that the video would not make a lot of sense without reading the book. Several of the kids could not watch the video (mostly guys) because they said it creeped them out. At the end of class they handed back the passwords. The next day in class I had a line wanting to know if the book was available. I had purchased 5 extra copies. I created lists on sticky notes and put them on the check out cards so I knew who got it next. I would not normally recommend it that way but for some that was the reason they had not picked up the book. Why read it if they could not see the video. It is still one of the number one books checked out from my classroom.