"All of your comments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks"
-- Elvis Costello, "Everyday I Write the Book"
"Little Red knocked on the door.
"'Come in,' said a growly voice.
"'Greetings, Little Pencil. Grrreat to see you,' said Principal Granny.
"Little Red was suspicious. 'I'd like to report hearing a growly voice.
And you know what? It sounded kind of like yours,' said Little Red.
"'The better to be hearrrd on the school intercom,' said Principal Granny.
"I'd also like to report that I saw a long, tangly tail. I can't help
noticing that you have a tangly tail, too,' said Little Red.
"'The better to get charged up for my school duties when batteries are
rrrunning low,' said Principal Granny.
"'I'd also like to report I have just noticed what big sharp teeth you
have,' said Little Red.
"'The better to chomp little pencils like you and grind them up,' growled
Principal Granny who in reality was...the Wolf 3000™ the grumpiest,
growliest, pencil sharpener ever made.
"Just as the Wolf 3000 began to chase Little Red, in walked Mr. Woodcutter
"'Who made this mess?'
"'Help!' cried Little Red. 'I think the Wolf 3000 has sharpened Principal
Granny to smithereens!'"
LITTLE RED WRITING, a tale about anthropomorphic pencils -- with Little
Red's teacher being yellow Ms. 2 -- is a mind-blowingly hysterical picture
book about the process of writing stories. The vehicle through which this
tale teaches elementary and middle schoolers how to craft stories is the
best take-off on the Little Red Riding Hood tale that I have ever in my life
At the beginning of the book, Ms. 2 has written on the board four steps to
creating a story path:
1. Idea, characters, setting
3. Even more trouble
4. Fix trouble
In Holub and Sweet's demonstration of this path through the ensuing wacky
pencils-in-peril story, readers are introduced to strategies employed and
parts of speech used in story creation including nouns, descriptive words,
adjectives, conjunctive glue, adverbs, action words, run-on sentences, and
Illustrator Melissa Sweet who, lately, has been responsible for
illustrating what seems to be one award-winning book after another, uses her
distinctive and lively style here to bring this crazy bunch of pencils (and the
electric pencil sharpener) to life. The result is a very funny picture book
that, I guarantee you, lots of savvy teachers will be eagerly sharing with
students as part of the process of teaching creative writing.