cover image Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing

Joan Holub, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Chronicle, $16.99 (36p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7869-2

Balanced gracefully on her point, Little Red is a courageous young pencil with a storytelling assignment from school. While the other young pencils choose to write about “Pencilvania” or themes based on their novelty erasers, Little Red decides to compose a heroic story. “Remember, it’s OK to wander a little, but stick to your basic story path so you don’t get lost,” warns her teacher, Ms. 2. Holub (Zero the Hero) cleverly combines two elementary-school formulas—the fairy tale and the writing exercise—as she shares the basics of storytelling and grammar. When Little Red activates her narrative with verbs, she “cartwheel[s] right off the page and into... a deep, dark, descriptive forest” where words like “verdant” and “bosky” decorate leaves. Sweet (River of Words) illustrates in a flurry of colored pencil, watercolor, and collage. On yellowed, heavily doodled composition notepaper, she playfully mingles calligraphy, classroom settings, and images of Red defeating a sharp-toothed foe, the Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener. With style, humor, and solid writing advice, Holub and Sweet point out the latent creative potential within any desk drawer or supply cabinet. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Liza Pulitzer Voges, Eden Street Literary. (Oct.)