A writer and her dog team up to offer tips on how to write stories.
Giff’s 70-pound dog, Rosie, is good at flapping her ears, wagging her tail, and shredding the daily newspaper—and, it turns out, she can be a good model for lessons on writing techniques, too. In 80 pages divided into 34 brief chapters, the volume offers a full course on the elements of fiction for young writers. With Rosie’s help and brief, illustrative excerpts from her own novels—Lily’s Crossing (1997), Eleven (2008), Pictures of Hollis Woods (2002), and others—Giff demonstrates how to create characters, establish a setting, give a character a problem to solve, and write dialogue. Many recent well-intentioned guides to teaching writing are big and intimidating, and brevity proves a boon here, making this short, engaging manual that speaks directly to readers the best recent writing guide for young readers and writers. The cover featuring Rosie and her presence as a canine writing prompt skews this guide to a younger audience, but it would be handy in middle school classrooms as well. The final chapter, “Read,” is an ode to the delights and values of reading. The last line: “I begin to read.”
A simple and lively guide for young writers everywhere. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-13)