Marvelous Cornelius

There IS something truly marvelous about trash pick up.

IMG_1809Experience the magic in this week’s Perfect Picture Book selection.

Title: Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans

Written by: Phil Bildner
Illustrated by: John Parra
Chronicl
e Books, 2015, Fiction (based on a true story)
Suitable for ages: 5-8
Lexile: AD560L
Themes/topics: resilience, Hurricane Katrina

IMG_0759Opening:
In the Quarter; there worked a man known in New Orleans as Marvelous Cornelius.
“Mornin’.” He saluted the silver-haired man with the Times-Picayune tucked under his arm.

Brief synopsis:
(from worldcat.org) A man known as the “Trashcan Wizard” sings and dances his way through the French Quarter in New Orleans, keeping his beloved city clean, until Hurricane
Katrina’s devastation nearly causes him to lose his spirit.

Activities:
Identify cause and effect.
Characterization – complete a character map for Cornelius.
Jobs: We always discuss jobs we aspire to, but consider less desirable jobs and how those workers impact our lives. What did Cornelius do to make his job special? How can you make your chores more enjoyable?

Trash and recycling – Endless possibilities for activities! Design an experiment at home or at school to learn how much trash is generated and how much can be recycled. Research recycling processes, landfills, and waste disposal. Invite someone from the sanitation department to visit your class.

Why I like this book:
As a writer – two words: Mentor Text. This story is so well crafted with all the elements that make it come alive. Dialogue, onomatopoeia, text that dances across the page, similes, metaphors, sensory language, alliteration, repetition, voice, local flavor, perfect word choices and pacing, all tightly woven into an engaging narrative.
As a reader, the art didn’t grab me, the subject didn’t pull me in, but the title and all the raves got me interested. Wow! What an awesome story of a humble man with an indomitable spirit. A joy to read!
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.


9 thoughts on “Marvelous Cornelius

  1. You’re right. The spirit of this book seems to be the driving force. I read this a few months ago, so I’ll have to take another look at the artwork. Chronicle Books are usually beautifully made. Thanks for highlighting this as a mentor text!

    Liked by 1 person

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