A Literary Analysis

Another Literary Analysis by Maya

Citation: Dixon, Dougal. The Big Book of Dinosaurs. London: Bison Books, 1989.

Reliability: I could tell this nonfiction book on dinosaurs by Dougal Dixon was reliable because the author has written about 25 books on fossils, geology, and dinosaurs, as well as some articles in encyclopedias . He got his education from the University of St. Andrews. He has been nominated for Hugo Award for Best Related Work and Locus Award for Best Non-Fiction.

Category: The Big Book of Dinosaurs follows an informational pattern. This nonfiction book tells all about dinosaurs and what species they evolved into. It explains the different species of dinosaurs and what life was like for them for the 170 million years they were on earth. The book is full of interesting facts about these reptiles along with over 160 photographs to go with them, which is why The Big Book of Dinosaurs is a great book to look in if you are a visual learner.

Short Annotation: Different species of dinosaurs are vividly explained in this book recommended for readers 7 and up.

Point of View: Third Person:

  • “During the 150 million years or so that they existed, the dinosaurs evolved and changed.” (12)
  • “The archosaurs into four main groups.” (23)
  • “They faded away in the early part of the Jurassic period and their places were taken by the sauropods.” (30)

Tense: Past:

  • Camarasaurus was probably the most common of the late Jurassic tree eaters.” (33)
  • “The largest was Triceratops, 30 feet (9 meters) long and weighing 6 tons.” (56)
  • Gallimimus was very similar to the other ostrich mimic dinosaurs, but was somewhat larger.” (74)

Literary Excellence:

  • Appositives: “Take a look at the tropical rain forests, such as those of the Amazon basin, central Africa or the islands of the Far East.” (6)
  • Alliteration: “…the almost continuous canopy of branches and leaves…” (6)
  • “…or else decay into the soil of the forest floor where their substances are taken up and used by the trees once more.” (6)
  • Prosauropods probably lived mainly on all fours and only reached upwards while feeding, supported on sturdy hind legs and tail. (26)
  • “The tail club consisted of a double knob…” (50)
  • “…jutting forward and a smaller spike jutting back.” (51)
  • “…different dinosaur groups actually lived un water.” (89)
  • “…duckbilled dinosaur…” (73).
  • “…where a broken bone had become” (78).
  • “…wallowing about in warm shallow water, diving for waterweed…” (89).
  • “…once thought that these animlas…” (90).
  • “…modern monitor…” (100).
  • Repetition:
  • “But each time and in each area, each animal existed as part of an overall pattern.” (12).
  • “…jutting forward and a smaller spike jutting” (51).
  • “…enormous tyrannosaurid (85).
  • Short Sentences: “It was a lizard eater” (64).
  • “Certainly it was one of the last” (85).
  • “The dinosaur world is full of puzzles like that” (88).
  • “That is as good a theory as any” (94).
  • “Who killed them?” (95).


My connection to The Big Book of Dinosaurs is text to self because it reminds me of when my family and I took a road trip to Drumheller, Alberta, which is also known as the dinosaur capital of the world. My brothers, dad, and I got to visit places like the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology and see the World’s Largest Dinosaur.  While in the museum, I remember seeing many fossils from different dinosaurs and other reptiles. On the way to our destination, we stopped in Revelstoke, Edmonton, Sprucegrove, Calgary, and Kamloops. On the way to Drumheller, we passed the Badlands and Hoo-doos in Alberta, which has soil from 70 million years ago. Some other tourist attractions we got to see were West Edmonton Mall, The Enchanted Forest, Radium Hotsprings, and Banff. I would’ve been 9 or 10 while on that trip but I still remember learning about these “terrible lizards” and what life would’ve been like then. It is fascinating that they were able to live on this planet for so long. The Big Book of Dinosaurs is a great place to look for information on these terrifying, but somehow beautiful, creatures which once roamed our planet.

A Literary Analysis

Gregor Mendel

A Literary Analysis by Tristan

A. Citation/Bibiliographic Entry

Bardoe, Cheryl. Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006.


B. Reliability

I believe that this book to be reliable.   I researched the author, and though she’s only written the one book for young adults, she is a writer in her professional life.  She has written articles, press kits, and texts for museum exhibitions. The publishing company, Abrams Books for Young Readers, has been in business for over sixty years and is well known for exceptional books, being the first company to be established for illustrated books.

C. Category

_X___ Chronological Pattern  _X_ Main Character

·     This book, a non-fiction picture book, is written in a chronological pattern.  It teaches us about the important milestones in the life of Gregor, and presents them in a chronological order.  It also focuses on one main character, that of Gregor.   We learn about major events throughout his life and how his choices affected other people.

D.  Short Annotation

I actually quite enjoyed this book, not for the writing but more for the diagrams. The book seemed to make more sense than a video that I watched. I believe the goal of the book is to give glory to the man who discovered genetics.


E.  Point of View

This book is written from the 3rd person point of view.  Rather than saying he, or I, the author refers to the main character by name.

  •  “Surrounded by great thinkers, Gregor plunged into further studies.  He became ‘addicted to nature,’ he later wrote.”
  • Gregor learned how to test such laws with carefully planned experiments.”
  • “Gregor had something else in mind.”


F. Tense

This book was written in the past tense.

  • “Gregor knew that he must choose the plants for his experiment carefully.”
  • “After two years of preparation, Gregor was eager to start breeding his plants to make hybrids.”
  • “Gregor pondered these questions throughout the snowy winter.”


F. Literary Excellence

·     Sounds of Words 

  • 1.  alliteration – repeating the beginning consonant sounds in words
  • ·     “It was time to tell the world.”
  • ·     “His father was a hardworking farmer who hoped his only son would follow in his footsteps.”
    2. assonance – repeating similar sounds, especially vowel sounds
  • ·     “When Gregor retured to the abbey, the abbot asked him to teach science at a nearby school.”
  • ·     “To attend, he would have to eat and sleep there.”
  •  3. consonance – repeating similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss.
  • ·     “Students liked Gregor’s clear expectations and lively sense of humor.”
  • ·     “Before beginning the tests,…”
  • ·     “Even when he was sick, Gregor never fell behind in his lessons.”

Choice of Words  

  • 1. litotes – understating for effect; e.g. no small victory; not a bad idea
  • ·     “He chose to feed his mind and go without food to fill his grumbling belly.”
  • ·     “At school, he feasted on his lessons.”
    2.  vocabulary – using precise nouns and verbs to describe scenes/emotions
  • ·     “’…strenuous…’”
  • ·     “’…exertions,’”

Arrangement of Words 

  • 1.  length of sentences – differing lengths to create a mood
  • ·     “Then Gregor waited. He would not remove the sacks until the flowers had been replaced by pea pods filled with seeds.”
    2.  repetition – repeating sounds, words or phrases for effect
  • ·     “…-smooth peas and wrinkled peas, yellow pea pods and green pea pods, smooth pea pods and bumpy pea pods, and so on.”
  • ·     “The yellow pea plants bred with green pea plants had yielded all yellow peas.”
  • ·     “In 1900, three different scientists, in three different countries, stumbed upon the paper that Gregor had published in 1865.”
  • 3.  appositives – inserting a phrase between a set of commas or dashes
  • ·     “Suddenly Gregor was seeing heredity—how parents pass traits down to their children—in an entirely new way.”
  • ·     “In 1900, three different scientists, in three different countries, stumbed upon the paper that Gregor had published in 1865.”

G. Connection
__X__ text to self   ___X__ text to world

My first connection is a text to world connection. This book reminded me of a video that I watched about genetics. In this video the speaker was saying how everybody thought that Aristotle was right about how traits mix; however, when Gregor studied the peas he discovered that the genes didn’t mix but rather one is dominant and one is recessive. Therefore a yellow pea with only yellow genes does not create a green pea. A yellow pea could have a gene to create a possible green pea from previous generations.

My second connection is a text to self connection. This also makes sense to me, none of my dad’s brothers are tall, however his dad is, and already I’m a good three inches taller than my dad. My mom isn’t tall either, so it’s not directly from her that I’m taller than them.

A Literary Analysis

Rules of Survival

Another Literary Analysis by Maya


  • Werlin, Nancy. Rules of Survival. London: Penguin Books Ltd., 2006.


  • I could rely on this book for examples of literary excellence before I read it because Ms. Rosen said the author, Nancy Werlin, is known for using proper writing. She is also a New York Times bestselling author. Rules of Survival was a National Book Award Finalist and an LA Times Book Prize Finalist.


  • Rules of Survival follows a problem-solving pattern: person versus person. Matt and his sisters, Emmy and Callie, struggle to live with their mentally ill mother, Nikki. Matt, who is the oldest, comes across a large man named Murdoch who was protecting a little boy from his abusive father when Matt saw him. Matt soon becomes obsessed with this man and after he eventually finds him, Nikki starts to date him. After they break up, Nikki does everything she can to try and hurt him.

Short Annotation:

  • Matt, Emmy, and Callie must find away to cope with living with their mentally ill, and sometimes violent, mother. This 259 page-novel vividly shows the struggles some children face with their parents and is recommended for readers 12-17 years old.

Point of View: First Person:

  • “I could telephone Murdoch, too, I thought”(15).
  • “I had expected him to do something” (127).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Tense: Past:

  • “I knew my face was still perfectly bland” (27).
  • “He was enraged” (41).
  • “We were better off just sticking it out with Nikki” (82).

 Literary Excellence:

  • Alliteration: “…almost always…” (37); “…watched the white-capped waves…” (37); “You pumped your feet furiously, fiercely” (143).
  • Short Sentences: “I chose.” (28); “Rage? Lust? Restlessness?” (47); “Tilt-A-Whirl. Bumper cars. Three separate roller coasters. Octopus. The Giant Drop.” (56);   “I inhaled.” (214); “You just never knew.” (83); “Winter came.” (144); “That’s Aunt Bobbie. A mystery.” (104); “I didn’t know. I didn’t care.” (59); “Fun was always Nikki’s word. Nikki’s goal” (156).
  • Metaphor: “…fought her demons…” (90); “Huge doubt filled me, though” (198).
  • Appositives: “Of course, at the time, I didn’t know what she was doing, exactly.” (11); “After that, I stayed angry at Ben, but the feeling of desperation…” (71).
  • Simile: “It was like a bomb thrown into the room” (109).
  • Repetition: “Normal, normal, normal. Normal for us.” (108); “’Mom? Please. Please stop fighting’” (151).
  • Synecdoche: “We can keep an eye on each other” (199).


Connection: text to world: 

  • My connection to Rules of Survival is text to world. I see stories about these kids who have grown up with parents who couldn’t take care of themselves enough to properly care for their kids. I tend to come across a lot that has to do with mental health and how it can affect not only the person with the illness, but everyone around them as well. In this novel, the author never states what Nikki, their mother, has but her mood ranges from being extremely caring to her children to being extremely violent. She likes to have fun, and play “games”. People in real life with these issues often can have their children taken away from them in order to keep everyone safe. People still don’t truly understand how much today’s society is impacted by mental health and Rules of Survival perfectly tells a story about it with our making fun of it.

A Literary Analysis

The Listeners

Another Literary Analysis by Maya

Citation: Whelan, Gloria. The Listeners. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2009.

Reliability: I could tell that this picture book would be reliable because it is part of a series: Tales of Young Americans Series. The author is an award-winning poet who has also written many other children’s books. She has won awards like the National Book Award. The illustrator has had his work featured in Time, GQ, The New Yorker, and Sports Illustrated.

Category: I think The Listeners follows a repetitive pattern because every night, Ella May and her friends go back to the Master and Mistress’s house to listen to what they talk about. When they have heard what they need to, the children go back to their parents and report what they heard. The reason the parents don’t sneak out and listen to the Master and Mistress’s conversation is because –even though the author doesn’t say it in the story- the children are much smaller and harder to catch. This basically repeats throughout the whole book without following a boring storyline. The Listeners is an exceptional book with a story on a serious topic.


Short Annotation: Ella May, a small girl who is an African-American slave along with her family and friends, listens in with her friends every night to what her Master and Mistress are talking about and reports it to their parents. This extraordinary picture book is recommended for readers of all age.


Point of View: 1st Person:

“My friends, Bobby and Sue, are too little to pick cotton like I do”  (4).

“We come home tired” (7).

“I pick with Mammy and Daddy” (16).


Tense: Present:

“It’s still dark in the morning when the boss blows on the bugle” (4).

“It’s noon and time to eat” (17).

“We sit in the gallery” (20).


Literary Excellence:

Length of Sentence:

“We come home tired” (7 ).

“We got to listen” (7).

“We’re out of bed fast” (4).

“It’s Saturday night” (20).

“My toes won’t like that” (31).


“…fast as foxes…” (11).

“We eat and eat until our bellies are fat as possums” (17).

“I got a smile as big as an alligator’s on my face” (9).

“His words come out as mean as rattlesnakes” (35).

“we make ourselves as small as cotton seeds and as quiet as shadows” (9).


“The sun and me start our work at the same time” (13).

“In the afternoon the sun melts me so I can hardly pick” (17).

“Fiddles throw music out the windows” (25).


“Nobody picks faster than my daddy does” (15).

“We dance and dance until our feet are damp with dew…” (26).

“…the boss blows on the bugle” (4).

“When I go to sleep I pretend my scratchy straw mattress is a bed of roses” (30).


“We dance and dance…”(26).

“We jump and jump on the cotton.” (28).

“We eat and eat…” (17).


”The music talks and talks to us…” ( 9).


Connection: text to world: My connection to The Listeners was text to world. During early American history, African-Americans were never equal with “white folks”, being slaves who were bought and sold and forced to work without pay. It was such a sad time in our history, a time when people were valued as things and not beings, seen as less than, simply because of the colour of their skin. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed a presidential proclamation freeing millions of slaves in the Southern States. I would like to say that we have come a long way, and I believe we have this part of our world, but unfortunately there are some parts of the world where this still exists. Even though his was a picture book it gave some insight into how families coped in those times of hardship. That even though this didn’t happen during my lifetime, that it’s important to take a look back to study this history to understand how we got to where we are today.