A simple and lively guide for young writers everywhere.

WRITING WITH ROSIE

YOU CAN WRITE A STORY TOO

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)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3656-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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