Exploding with puns, wordplay and the irrepressible desire to re-imagine “Little Red Riding Hood” one more time, Holub and Sweet bring forth some actual useful writing advice—that’s not just for beginners.
It’s Write On! Day at the Pencilvania School, and all the little pencils and their teacher, Ms. 2, are about to follow the story path. Ms. 2 gives our heroine, Little Red, a basket of nouns and reminds her to stick to the path. She becomes entangled in descriptive adjectives, stuck in a sentence that just keeps going, and is rescued and then ambushed by adverbs and random nouns. Principal Granny seems to have a long electric tail and a growly voice when Little Red gets to her office. It’s not the principal but the Wolf 3000—a voracious pencil sharpener! But Little Red has one noun left, and she uses it judiciously. Watercolor, pencil and collage give the magnificent Sweet lots of material to play with: The little pencil-pupils each have an identifying eraser cap (a stegosaurus, a basketball, a map of Pencilvania). When Little Red looks for excitement in her story, she goes to the gym and is “quickly drawn into the action,” as all the pencils twist, jump and play catch on the page. The artwork—which integrates written text in a variety of lettering styles—fills the pages with a riot of color, shape, movement and design. Endpapers and title pages are all part of the tale. Little kids should love the illustrations and their multiplicity of meanings, and older children trying out their writing wings will find good, strong advice.
Every writers’ group should start with this story. (Picture book. 7 & up)