Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing

Joan Holub
Illustrator:   Melissa Sweet 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Chronicle Books, 2013   ISBN: 978-0811878692

One day, in pencil school, Ms. 2 tells her students that they are going to write a story.  All the students are excited and they know straight away what they want to write about. Birthday pencil is going to write “a happy story,” and the basketball pencil is going to write about sports. Little Red wants to write a story “about bravery because red is the color of courage,” but what should the brave pencil in her story do?  Little Red has some ideas and Ms.2 gives Little Red a basket of fifteen words that might be helpful if Little Red gets stuck.

  Little Red begins her story about a brave red pencil who goes on a journey. Initially Little Red says that her character “walked along,” but Little Red wants her character to be exciting, so she goes to the gym where she finds some better action words.

   Next Little Red goes to the library, which is where she gets bogged down by descriptive words. She understands that adjectives are wonderful, but only in moderation. Carefully she cuts away all the adjective clutter in her story so that she gets back on track.

   In the supply closet Little Red meets a bottle of Conjunction Glue. He says that he can help her stick to her story, but when Little Red squeezes the bottle, way too much glue comes out and poor Little Red gets into a pickle. Thankfully, an adverb arrives on the scene in the nick of time.

   Little Red has now reached the middle of her story, and she knows that something exciting should happen, but she is distracted by a “growly sound.” Something is very wrong, and poor frightened Little Red runs away, forgetting all about “all the rules of punctuation and sentence structure.”

   In this clever retelling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, we not only meet an exceptionally brave little red pencil, but we also learn a little about how to write a story. Throughout the book a delightful story is paired with Melissa Sweet’s wonderful multimedia artwork.