A Journey to the Four Kingdoms by Karl F. Hollenbach
July 11, 2013 in Book Club Possibility, Elementary Educators, Hollenbach Karl, Journal Writing, Making Personal Connections, Middle Grade Novel, Middle School Teachers, Reading Skills Tags: books about friendship, middle grade fantasy, middle grade fantasy books, middle grade novels for boys
*Middle-grade fantasy novel
*Young boy who grows up as the book moves along and a “toy” dragon as main characters
*Rating: The voice of the dragon in A Journey to the Four Kingdoms draws the reader in immediately. You can’t help but love Firebreather, the little dragon, and his “master” Pid, who actually has a very long, complicated name. If your children ages 9 to 12 or so love fantasy, they will really enjoy Karl F. Hollenbach’s novel.
Short, short summary: Firebreather starts the novel by telling us how he was created and came to live with the Royal Prince, Pid. Pid has a very important mission once he starts his education. He must journey to four kingdoms (hence the title) and gain knowledge at each one to discover THE GREAT SECRET. Along the way, he meets several interesting and fantastical characters, with names we cannot pronounce (that’s what fantasy is all about, right?). Eventually, there’s evil, and this in the form of the Black Demon, whom Pid must fight. Through all of these experiences, he eventually learns the Great Secret.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. You and your child or classroom can actually listen to the first chapter for free by going to this link here and scrolling down the page: http://booksauthorsandartists.com/books/a-journey-to-the-four-kingdoms/
2. In this book, themes of loyalty, courage, friendship, love, duty, and honor are explored. How does Pid fit into each of these themes? How does Firebreather help him? You can ask students to take one theme and find specific examples of Pid and/or Firebreather exemplifying that theme. Once they find the example, write it down in a journal and then explain why they chose it BEFORE having a class discussion.
3. Before PID uncovers the GREAT SECRET, can readers predict what it is? Ask readers to predict, and then once the book is finished, discuss their predictions and whether or not they were right.