Friday, March 28, 2014

Little Red Writing

Holub, Joan. 2013. LITTLE RED WRITING. Ill. by Melissa Sweet. San Francisco: Chronicle. ISBN 9780811878692 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

In this clever retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, a little red pencil navigates the scary world of writing. The hilarious tale is full of puns, word play, and exaggerated description as Little Red makes her way through the halls of “Pencilvania School” on her way to Principal Granny’s office. There she meets the Wolf 3000: “the grumpiest, growliest, grindingest pencil sharpener ever made!”, and ultimately lives up to her goal of creating “a story about bravery” when she boldly saves the day. In the midst of the fun, sound writing tips are given as Little Red remembers to stick to the story path, to cut through excessive description, to avoid run-on sentences, and to utilize structure and punctuation to strengthen her story. 

The creative tale is extended perfectly in Melissa Sweet’s vivid, trademark illustrations. Notebook paper backgrounds and handwriting style fonts add personality to the action. Sweet’s layered canvas of pencil, watercolor, and collage invite rereading and pouring over the many details. This celebration of creativity and storytelling can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. 

This book offers connection possibilities for classrooms across the grade levels. The book can be reread allowing students to listen for and collect puns, adjectives, action verbs, adverbs, dialogue, or writing tips. Children can create their own writing notebook in the style of Little Red’s adventure. They can also write stories by the other pencils in Red’s class or create further adventures for Little Red herself. 

Other clever books full of puns and word play:
Auch, Mary Jane. THE PLOT CHICKENS. ISBN 9780823420872
Lichtenheld, Tom. E-MERGENCY!  ISBN 9780811878982
Stevens, Janet. THE LITTLE RED PEN. ISBN 9780152064327

By Jill Bellomy

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