The Blue Arrow book report - detailed analysis, book summary, literary elements, character analysis, Gianni Rodari biography, and everything necessary for active class participation.
The Blue Arrow is a fantastic story about a doll's journey out of a lady's shop. Francesco was a boy who wanted a train so hard he would stand in front of Befana's store and watch the train and the other dolls. The toys were moved by Francesco's sadness and they decided to leave Befana's store and make him happy.
Many things happened to them during their journey and they got separated so, instead of making one boy very happy, they made more children happy. The plot twist of this story is very entertaining and deep down the story is actually about love towards children who were unable to receive presents on a special day.
We meet many different toy characters, such as the General, Silver Feather, Pilot, and others, who assume human characteristics. Their words and actions will make us laugh and make us cry. This work also has an educational purpose because of its characters' development and growth.
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Genre: a children's novel
Setting: everything happens in just over a year; places: Befana's shop, children's houses, Francesco's house, prison
Point of view: first-person
Theme: The Blue Arrow's journey
It was the morning of Epiphany. Befana spent the whole day with her servant Teresa flying around and delivering gifts. When they came home Befana told Teresa to make her a cup of chamomile tea with a teaspoon of rum. Befana started reading her books and the letters she had received. Befana had a beautiful toy store with windows that were always well lit so that the children could admire her toys. When a child doesn't like a certain toy it is moved from the display.
The Blue Arrow
Befana and Teresa went to the basement to get some new toys. Befana was excited about an electric train that seemed magical to her. She named him The Blue Arrow. After Befana cleaned the train one man in the train asked the driver when they would be going. There was a troop of shooters with their colonel on the platform. They had cannons and behind them was a valley where Silver Feather was with his men. There was also a plane with a Sitting Pilot, a red cage with Yellow Canary, dog Cusco and a boat with the captain. When Befana rose up the curtains they saw a little boy's sad eyes. They were filled with tears and every now and then one would slide down his cheeks.
Monti Francesco di Giuseppe enters the store. He was the boy who cried in front of the window. He told Befana he would love to get a train as a gift. Befana told him she has everything written down and that he can't get the train because his mother didn't pay for presents in the last two years. The sad boy exited the store and all the toys heard him crying. The captain was even laughing a little because he couldn't believe someone was crying over a train.
The Station Chief Runs out of Ideas
The next Francesco was looking at the shop's window again. All the toys in the window got very fond of him. If one day Francesco would come they would be worried. It lasted for months. Soon all the toys realized that the sixth of January was close.
Let Cusco Be in Charge
Cusco had an idea. Silver Feather told everyone they should listen to him. Cusco wanted to throw Francesco a surprise. He was able to track people down by their smell so he was able to find Francesco's house. All of them started discussing and then they looked at the colonel. He said the army would protect them. The toys decided to start their adventure on the day before January 6.
When they came to an agreement, they encountered their first problem: How will they get out of the toy shop? The engineer then managed to let them go through the curtains. Cusco told them he found a hole in the basement through which they could run away but they had another problem. They didn't know how to climb down the stairs. They've decided that the pilot will help those who can't climb down. The last one was the motorcyclist who was an acrobat. Teresa realized the toys ran away and she told Befana. The engineer locked the storage doors, giving them time to run away.
Yellow Bear Leaves at the First Station
When they got out, the colonel told everyone to be ready with their cannons because he spotted the first enemy. The enemy turned out to be a little boy sleeping in his bed. It seemed like a poor family lived in the old basement. They all came close to the bed. Some toys were still recovering from the stress and they hid behind the yellow bear. They saw a letter written by the boy in which he asked Befana for a toy but he didn't state which one. Yellow Bear decided to stay with the boy. All of them said goodbye to the bear and went on with their journey.
The alarm on the Bridge
Cusco told them they had to go right but the train ended up in a puddle. The water rose up to his little widows. The engineer decided to build a bridge from some pieces in the box. The Colonel told his men to help so the bridge was done soon. In the meantime, the cowboys and Indians set up a camp. They placed The Blue Arrow (the train) on the bridge. Befana was flying on her broom and she saw them. The Colonel ordered everyone to turn off the lights. The train driver drove the train across the bridge. Befana didn't catch them on time so she went back to her shop.
Saying Goodbye to the Rose
Our dolls ended up in a room that smelled like fruit. They saw an old lady sleeping on the floor. The soldier told them she was in a strange state of sleep. Rose, a doll, decided to stay with the old lady so she wouldn't be alone. The others boarded the train and went one. Rose slept next to the old lady. The next morning the landlord found them sleeping next to each other. The carabinieri came and they saw the old lady was dead. One of them took Rose and decided to give her to his daughter.
Cusco was spinning around in circles and he couldn't find Francesco's scent. All of a sudden the colonel shouted that Francesco was abducted because his scent led them to the middle of the road and then disappeared. He told his men to unload the cannons and be ready to fire if necessary. All of a sudden the first cannon disappeared under the snow and the rest followed up. The colonel got down on his knees and started digging through the snow. His cannons seemed to be gone. He said that his life had no meaning without them and the snow-covered him.
A snow statue emerged from the place the colonel was last seen. In the meantime, a cat attacked the canary who was out in the cold. Something broke in the canary and spring hit and scared the cat. The canary fell to the ground. The Blue Arrow lost two of its members. After the funeral, they continued. A man, driving a bike, saw the canary, took him, fixed him, and gave him to his son.
The talking statue
The pilot was flying around, trying to find Francesco. He flew to a statue which told him it's no wonder they lost Francesco since boys often didn't walk but were driven in a car. He also told him about a boy sitting on the stairs. The pilot assumed it was Francesco. Cusco went to the stairs and felt Francesco's scent. Their new finding was celebrated with a small military music concert.
To the Goal
Teresa and Befana, after delivering gifts, went on searching for The Blue Arrow. Silver Feather heard something. All of a sudden a branch broke and Teresa fell onto the ground. The Indians put their axes in her legs. Befana told her to come back up but Teresa couldn't. She was scared of the toys hurting her so she gave them a list of all the kids who will not receive a gift because their parents couldn't afford them. Silver Feather took it and decided to go to Francesco's house first. All of the toys that wanted to stay in his house and the other can go to the houses of other kids. Teresa came back to the store. Cusco started running faster until he didn't find Francesco's house. When they came in they saw the house was empty.
Three Wooden Dolls' Hearts
The passengers of The Blue Arrow were disappointed and they didn't want to go back to Befana's shop so they kept on looking for other kids that weren't going to receive presents. Cusco wasn't ready to give up on Francesco. Three wooden dolls were shivering because of the cold so they drew a heart on them so that they could feel warm again. Cusco said goodbye to everyone and decided to wait in the house.
The Story of Francesco
In this chapter, we find out more about Francesco's sad reality. His father died so he and his family had to move out of the house. That was the reason why the house was empty. Francesco couldn't work with his father as a newspaper deliverer so he got a job at the cinema and he was often tired at school. When he was coming home from work thieves grabbed him and wanted him to help them rob a store. Francesco did it but when he entered the shop he started shouting for help. When the guards came they didn't believe Francesco. The store was actually Befana's store. Francesco ended up in jail like he was a criminal.
The Pilot Lands
The motorcyclist led the other dolls. One by one they were staying in houses of children whose parents didn't have enough money to buy them toys. When they came to Livia's house the doll didn't want to stay there because she didn't want to be far away from the pilot. He didn't want to stay but in the end, he did because he thought it would be good to encourage girls to become pilots.
The Sailor Sails
The next house belonged to Marin Rossi. When the sailor heard his name he knew it was his turn to stay. Engineers built up a funicular so that the sailor could climb up. All of them stood there and watched him. They all liked him and it was hard for them to say goodbye to him. The sailor saw a beautiful sink and he settled there.
Crayons' Box Wonderful Events
Soon The Blue Arrow lost its passengers. The Indians stayed in a house covered with Indian posters. Only the crayons stayed in the wagons. They came to the house of a boy named Franco. He wanted to become a painter so the crayons were a perfect gift for him. They wanted to draw him something to surprise him. The blue drew a cow that came to life. Franco was awake and he drew a little man. All the crayons drew something.
Guard's House, Number 27
The Blue Arrow came to a guard's house. They realized Robert's father was a guard at the railroad and they were thrilled to stay with him. Soon they heard a noise which later became a storm. Robert's father told him he'll go and see what was happening. Robert walked in the deep snow and he saw the railroad was covered with it. A fast train was coming his way, stopping at the last second. The train driver went out and thanked him for saving him from sure death. When he came into the house he saw The Blue Arrow and he was thrilled.
Befana Knows how it's Done
The night guard came to Befana's store and told her all that happened while she was away. Befana realized Francesco was actually helping her so she went to the prison to get him out. She also got into a fight with a policeman for locking up an innocent little boy as if he was a criminal. When Francesco was set free Befana offered him a job. Francesco wanted to come back home and Befana called a carriage to take him.
Cusco Wants to Die
Cusco was miserable because he was unable to find Francesco. He wanted to throw himself under a train but people were laughing at him. Cusco held on to a carriage and decided to go wherever the carriage goes. Cusco got tired from holding on so he entered the carriage and saw a boy
Cusco Learns to Bark
Cusco knew it was Francesco. Cusco changed and for the first time in his life he barked. Francesco was happy to get a dog.
What is a friend?
Francesco slept with the dog and he decided to take him to the store. Befana told him he can stay in the store as long as he behaves. Cusco would bark when someone would enter and he learned to hold a little bowl in which people would leave tips for Francesco. Francesco adored Cusco and they promised each other to stay together forever.
Cusco - no one wanted Cusco because they didn't know to which breed he belonged and also he didn't know how to bark. He was very shy and could talk without blushing. He didn't give up on Francesco even when he lost his scent. In the end, he became a real dog and stayed with Francesco.
The Captain - he was missing half of his face because the people who made him weren't very careful. All the dolls loved him even though he would grumble all the time. He stayed in Marin's house because he thought that Marin must love the sea.
Befana - she was pretty cheap and didn't want to give a raise to Teresa. She was brave, never got tired but she was also brutal when it came to money. She didn't want to give Francesco The Blue Arrow because his mother owed her money for the toys in the last two years. She and Teresa tried to catch the toys but they failed. When Teresa was held captive she gave the list of all the children who will not be getting toys because their parents can't afford them. At first, she seemed to be heartless but in the end, she became better and gave Francesco a job after saving him from prison.
Francesco - he was a ten-year-old boy who went to school and worked with his father as a newspaper deliverer. He always looked at Befana's shop and observed the toys. He adored The Blue Arrow but he couldn't get it because he had no money. When his father died, he and his family had to leave their house and their life got even worse. Since he wasn't able to deliver newspapers anymore he started working at a cinema. He was a bit of an introvert and didn't share his troubles with anyone. Befana saved him from prison and gave him a job.
The Blue Arrow - was a train that came in a set with railroads and all of the train crew. He drove the other toys while they were looking for Francesco. In the end, he ended up with a boy whose father worked at the railroad.
Other characters are Yellow Bear whose brain was made out of sawdust and he was very slow and he stayed with Gianpaolo, the three wooden dolls, the doll Rose, the pilot, the Indians, and Silver Feather as well as the crayons and the cowboys.
Giovanni Francesco "Gianni" Rodari was an Italian writer, born on October 23, 1920, in Omegna, a small town in northern Italy.
Although he was most famous as a children's author, he started writing children's books by accident. Most people consider him to be the most important children's author in Italy.
First, he started working as a teacher in elementary school. But in World War II, he decided to work as a journalist in the newspaper "L'Unita". That was when he wrote his first children's novel.
After 1950, he dedicated himself to writing children's books that were later translated into many foreign languages, but very few in English. His famous works are: "Cipollino", "The book of children's poems", "The Blue Arrow", "Gip in the Television".
In 1953, he married Maria Teresa Ferretti and had his first and only child; a daughter Paola born in 1957. The same year he became a professional journalist.
In 1970, he received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. This biennial award in literature is the highest recognition to any writer of children's books.
His health declined after one trip to Russia. He died on April 14, 1980, upon his return to Rome.
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