Skip to main content

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Stewart

Little Red Writing, written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, who has illustrated nearly 100 children's book and won a Caldecott Honor and a Siebert, is a brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale from the perspective of a little red pencil given the school assignment to WRITE A STORY! More than just a retelling of "Little Red Ridinghood," Little Red Writing, in a sneaky sort of way, teaches kids about story structure and how to write. I'm not sure the degree to which Holub and Sweet collaborated on Little Red Writing, but there a jokes, plays on words and all sorts of tips and tricks embedded in every illustration. "Write Often and Carry a Big Notebook" is the motto of the Pencilvania School, where Ms. 2 is Little Red's teacher. Word bubbles and multiple panels on several pages make Little Red Writing read almost like a graphic novel. Sweet has a style that I love, incorporating elements of collage into her illustrations. With lined pages, graph paper, Scotch plaid and newsprint integrated into her artwork, Sweet's illustrations are perfectly suited to this particular story about writing a story.

As a red pencil, red being the color of courage, Little Red wants to writes a story about bravery. She decides to follow the "Story Path" steps that Ms. 2 has written on the chalk board and write a story about a pencil who will, "Go on a journey through the school, meet unusual characters, fight evil and save the day." Ms. 2 reminds Little Red that, "it's ok to wander a little, but stick to your basic story path so you don't get lost."

As Little Red thinks about the story she wants to write, Holub works some fantastic vocabulary into the story and even a little grammar. Little Red meets a tube of "Conjunction Glue" who offers to share some words that have "stick-to-it-iveness" that will help her stick to her story path, but she gets bogged down in a run-on sentence. Just in time, a truck full of adverbs drives by and Little Red nears that part of the story where something exciting is supposed to happen. A wolf isn't especially scary to a pencil, but an electric pencil sharpener in Principal Granny's office is! Trouble, then even bigger trouble ensues but Little Red fixes the trouble and makes it back to the classroom just in time to hear her classmates read their stories and share her own.

Little Red Writing is the kind of book you can pull of the shelf and read to almost any listener, but it definitely shines when read to just the right audience. Next time you need a gift for you child's teacher, this is the book to give!

Source:  Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret) The Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!