Angela and Diabola by Lynne Reid Bank Critique and Activities for Lesson Plans
Banks, Lynne Reid. Angela and Diabola. New York: Avon Books, 1997.
Category: fantasy; chapter book;
Approximate age group: 9 and up
Summary, Critique & Analysis Followed by Classroom Activities:
Lynne Reid Banks, the best-selling author of “The Indian in the Cupboard” series, brings us a comic novel of two sisters. "Angela and Diabola" is suitable for self readers who are on level and above for age group 9-12. Content is multi-faceted and layered such that discussions and conversations can be varied and manipulated based on cognitive and analytical levels. Chapters have good endpoints.
Its multi-layered discussion and conversation opportunities make "Angela and Diabola" a perfect choice for working with groups of students who are at mixed levels. This characteristic makes "Angela and Diabola" an ideal read out loud for teachers who have students that read at a wide range of reading levels, and/or who are looking to boost discussion opportunities and results with students who could benefit from a more active literary discourse and analysis of text, and for teacher who wish to enhance reading fluidity and vocabulary of their students through example.
A major theme in this story is good vs evil. Reid-Banks make an exceptional case for what can happen when a balance of the two, in each and every one of us, is not achieved. This is a story of angelic forces, diabolic evil and the necessary balance of the two in every child.
The story of Angela and Diabola begins with the unexpected arrival of twins to Mrs. Cuthbertson-Jones.
Diabola becomes such an excruciating problem that the Cuthbertson-Jones’ call in the Vicar, who cannot seem to exorcise the evil out of Diabola.
“The Vicar was straining every nerve. He was so carried away the he half expected Diabola’s mouth to open and a stream of screaming ectoplasm to come forth.”
The stresses put a horrible strain on the relationship of Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbertson-Jones.
Angela and Diabola soon discover they have special powers and Diabola takes hers to the extreme. Only Angela can stop her. In fact, Angela is the only one who’s understanding of her sister went far beyond their Twinnish.
“Dybo’s not very nice. That’s why I love her.”
Sibling rivalry doesn't get much better than this.
Banks has written a story filled with the emotions, struggles, issues and perceptions of a family, and the actions they made (sometimes without choice, sometimes without thought) and the consequences these actions bring. The Cuthbertson-Jones’ relationships went through many stages and changes that would occur in any family faced with major stresses.
Banks put her belief in the importance of fantasy in developing a child’s inner world to work in her books. "Angela and Diabola", with its wonderfully realistic and memorable characters, is no exception. Her eloquent, insightful language and vivid descriptions keep children hanging at the edge of your seat.
> Have the children make a diorama, or paint or draw a picture, of their favorite scene. Be sure that they represent good, bad, and a balance of the two, regardless of whether the aspect was depicted in that scene. Have them talk about why they made the choices that they did.
> Alternatively, they can write a story of their own using the same instructions as above (their stories should incorporate representation of good, bad, and a balance of the two.)
> Or students can
write a scene three times (made up, or from the book) with one scene showing what would happen if all were good, one if all were bad, and one to show what the scene would be like if there were a
> Students can get into groups and talk about the decisions and choices people make in their actions, and what sorts of consequences there might be for those actions (pertaining to either their own or those made by others). This would be an opportunity to talk about actions and consequences that perhaps we don't have control over (or don't feel like we have control over).
> Discuss plot lines. Depending on student level and age, have students create a plot line of the story; either as a whole, in groups, or individually.
> You can do the same with character development - and have students choose which character they would like to analyze.