Time travel, cavemen, laughs, and a perfectly paced manual on story creation.
Children’s performing group the Story Pirates chose 11-year-old writer Vince Boberski’s idea for a book and handed it to Rodkey, who turns it into the tale of a janitor named Tom Edison (not that one) who dreams of becoming a scientist (despite an H in Physics). After a time-machine accident, Tom and shy, brilliant scientist Dr. Marisa Morice are trapped in the Stone Age with saber-tooth-tiger–worshipping cavemen. How will they get back to their own time? At key points in the tale, cartoon versions of a Story Pirate and Boberski break in with a question about a story element. Readers can continue with the story or flip to a specified section of the “Story Creation Zone” that makes up the final quarter of the volume. The narrative of Tom and Marisa’s adventure is sarcastic, funny, and entertaining enough to interest on its own, and the short (and also funny) instructional lessons on character creation, story setting, plot twists, climax building, and story endings are pitched to pique interest and get the creative juices flowing. Aly’s cartoon illustrations (final art not seen) will add a giggle or two or three. Marisa appears to be black and Tom white, and naming conventions point to a diverse supporting cast.
A must for young writers (even those not interested in sci-fi) and a fab, fun writing manual for writing teachers everywhere. (Science fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 8-12)