Two more picture books: the first was going around my blogs over the summer, and was popular enough here that I had to wait months to get it. The second was a random book picked off the new book shelf because we like pirates around my house.
Little Red Writing by Joan Holub. Pictures by Melissa Sweet. Chronicle Books, 2013.
Little Red is a sharp pencil who decides to write an adventure story for her class writing adventure. She’s both writing and experiencing this clever retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in a way that’s confusing to tell but makes perfect sense in the book. Each page of her adventure illustrates another common form of bad writing, as she’s first trapped in the forest of too many adjectives, then trapped in situations with fearful run-on sentences and the dangers of straying off the story path. The ending, as Little Red uses one of the red words from her word basket to defeat the Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener, is – dare I say it – more satisfying than the traditional rescue by the woodcutter. This combination of story and writing lesson had the strong possibility of failing on one or both counts, but amazingly succeeds at both. I’d thought my four-year-old, too young for writing assignments, might not get it – but she and my son and his teachers all loved it. For me it’s love at a level where I’m happy checking it out from the library when we want it again, but it’s going in my son’s school library, and possible individual class libraries as well.
No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler Greene. Illustrated by Brian Ajhar. Sleeping Bear Press, 2013
Stinky Pirate Pete and his parrot storm into the library with a treasure map showing that there’s treasure in the library. Lou the librarian initially shushes them, but after she’s straightened them out on proper library behavior, she teaches them to read. It turns out the library does have treasure – just not the kind Pirate Pete was expecting! This a fun story in bouncy rhyme. I loved watching the message play out – mostly exciting and only a tiny bit preachy. Tiny Library Lou’s stern facedown of Pirate Pete and her enthusiasm while teaching letters are both priceless!