MRS. GOODSTORY by Joy Cowley


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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Mrs. Goodstory and a young friend explore the world of fiction in this adventurous tale that attempts to show readers that stories can take you anywhere. The beginning is a disjointed group of episodes that detract from the main thread: the two travelers feed words to parrots, meet a rude crocodile (whose author should have written him better-mannered), and see safari animals on the run on the African savannah—away from Dead-eye Dayton, who, as they point out, is in the wrong story. But as Mrs. Goodstory says, “Stories should be full of surprises,” and that’s what it is. The pair explore the Arctic Ocean and swim with the whales and seals because, of course, in stories, you can breathe underwater. They meet the captain of an icebreaker who takes them on a cruise. How far? Two pages—“We’ll skip the boring parts.” They get lost and begin a new adventure, this time losing their way in midair as Mrs. Goodstory forgets how the plot goes. Her young friend quickly imagines the ending, and it is literally out-of-this-world. The idea that the creators of stories use language to make new worlds may have to be explained to children. But they’ll surely understand the second half of the book as the adventures build one on top of another. Dornbusch’s (Finding Kate’s Shoes, not reviewed, etc.) illustrations are colorful and detailed, but somewhat flat, especially the faces of the characters. Cowley’s (Agapanthus Hum and Major Bark, 2001, etc.) topic is promising, but the finished result is disappointing—readers may want to “skip the boring parts.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-56397-774-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2001


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