Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Books about books part 1


Violet and Victor Small are twins on a mission: to write the best book in the whole, entire world--together! Victor is reluctant, but Violet is determined, and soon the ideas can't come quickly enough.

They begin to write a story about a hungry Bookworm who is eating all the books in the library. Thanks to Victor's brilliant ideas, Violet is able to save the day (and the library).

This delightful story-within-a-story is filled with good-natured sibling rivalry, and focuses on the spirit of cooperation, the satisfaction of a job well-done, and the magic of storytelling.


Kuipers provides a cute look at the process of writing a story, from a child's point of view.  Not only is the relationship between the siblings funny and realistic, but it maps out beautifully the elements needed to create a story.  The imagination expended here is to be applauded and the book is not only entertaining but is a natural lead in to young readers writing their own stories.  In fact, I plan to use this with some of my own students.  The multicolored ink helps distinguish between Violet and Victor which helps the reader know who is speaking.  The delightful collage illustrations are bound to inspire children to use their own imaginations to create their own "best-ever" stories. I also like the fact that the two children come at the story with very different ideas, but somehow manage to create a single story which they then enjoy reading together.  A great book for young readers who aren't sure they can create a story of their own.  The book is also plain good reading.


Discover the secret ingredients to crafting a truly delicious story!

Turn up the heat-
the bubbles quicken.
And then my plot
begins to thicken.

Join one lucky little girl as she learns the recipe for making the perfect story. A pinch of good, a dash of bad, some big words, and carefully cut out characters all provide the ingredients for a truly delicious read!


Comparing the creation of a story (book) to baking a pie makes for an entertaining premise and a great teaching idea. The little girl spends a lot of time finding just the right 'ingredients' of words, characters, and plot.  I loved the imagery that is conveyed by the words and illustrations. The use of words is so clever and fun to read, this is a book I'd recommend for any elementary teacher/librarian who is trying to help students understand the different elements that make up a good story.


Many children want to know where stories come from and how a book is made. Marie-Louise Gay's new picture book provides them with some delightfully inspiring answers in a fictional encounter between an author and some very curious children, who collaborate on writing and illustrating a story.

Marie-Louise has scribbled, sketched, scrawled, doodled, penciled, collaged and painted the words and pictures of a story-within-a-story that show how brilliant ideas creep up on you when you least expect it and how words sometimes float out of nowhere asking to be written.

Any Questions? presents a world inhabited by lost polar bears, soaring pterodactyls, talking trees and spotted snails, with cameo appearances by some of Marie-Louise's favorite characters — a world where kids can become part of the story and let their imaginations run wild… and just maybe they will be inspired to create stories of their own.

At the end of the book, Marie-Louise provides answers to many of the questions children have asked her over the years, such as “Are you Stella?” “How did you learn to draw?” “Can your cat fly?” “How many books do you make in one day?”


A wonderful ode to the questions that children ask of authors, Any Questions? not only allows the author to share some of these questions and her answers to the questions, but to show how she creates her stories.  I especially liked the way she used child characters to 'inspire' her with ideas for the story she creates within the story.  And she mentions all the major story elements which makes this a great teaching tool (if you have a projector that allows the students to see all the small details), including setting, ideas, characters, and plot and how they all come together to create a story.  Gay also brilliantly demonstrates the importance of editing and revising (something all children I've worked with don't really understand the need of, after all isn't the story perfect the first time? ;)).  The story that is created about a young giant is so childlike that I had to laugh when I read it the first time.  All in all a brilliant book that I absolutely adore and plan to use with my students.

At this point I would like to thank all these marvelous authors who have created such awesome books that make my job not only enjoyable but easier!  My hat's off to you!

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