Most ""how to write"" books are worthless; surprisingly, this one isn't half bad. Jackson concentrates on the meat of the writing experience, such as awareness of the senses -- how to increase your own and how other writers (E.B. White, Kenneth Grahame, Twain, Lucy Boston) have communicated sounds, touch, smells, tastes. She talks about the satisfactions of keeping a journal; the semi-guilty pleasure of eavesdropping on other people's speech patterns; of what she calls ""woodies"" -- found poems taken from everyday conversation; of using one's own bad deeds as subject matter; of the joy of inventing new words and names or tracking old ones down in the OED. Young people, especially, may be less than tolerant of Jackson's self-consciously pedagogic conversations with her own daughters and of her doting on their spontaneous, cute sayings. Jackson the proud Mama can be irritating and long-winded (and her attribution of a Saki story to Mark Twain is annoying), but she is on the right track. Both her own prose and the excerpts she has chosen from others are full of the fun of the writer's craft, and this kind of specific, undogmatic advice on developing the ear and mind is hard to come by.