Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Table That Ran Away to the Woods

by Stefan Themerso
Illustrated by Franciszka Themerson
Themerson, Stefan. The Table That Ran Away to the Woods. Ill. by Franciszka Themerson. English ed. London: Tate Pub., 2012. ISBN 9781849760577

Plot Summary
The Table That Ran Away to the Woods is a story about a writing table that grabs two pairs of shoes and runs into the streets and out of town to the woods. The owner of the table and his wife take off running barefoot after the table since the table stole their shoes. They follow it into the woods where the table finds some tress and takes root. You will have to read the book to find out what the table does after it takes root in the woods.

Critical Analysis
This book is the first English translation of this children's classic that was conceived in the 1930's and it was first published in Polish in 1963. In the back of this book there is a note that tells the story of the author and illustrator, Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, who were prominent Polish film makers in Warsaw in the 1930s. The theme of the story is about escaping the man-made world and returning to your roots. Readers will enjoy the end rhyme and free spirit nature of the story. There is no real connection between the culture and the book until you read the summary and note for the book. That is where readers will lean the back story of the Polish culture of the author and illustrator.
The collage illustrations are original and display many textures. The little color in the book runs with a pattern, one page is black and white and the next two have color. It then repeats with two pages of black and white and two pages of color. This is a fun story that will be great for elementary students.

Review Excerpts
  • "This is a book that has the potential to spark a conversation about the impact of humans on nature, and about the power of collage to convey the artist's message." -School Library Journal
  • "Readers needn't be familiar with the back story to appreciate the collage-like images of the table scampering over hills and reclaiming its existence." -Publishers Weekly
  • Have students create there own illustrations through collage.
  • Read another book with Franciszka Themerson illustrations, My First Nursery Book (9780810979789)

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