Children's Literature - Susan BorgesThis attractive book is an interesting realistic fiction story, and it is also a cleverly-crafted narrative nonfiction text. It is an endearing story about siblings who go on a family road trip to Yellowstone National Park and it is also a nonfiction text which helps readers understand the “how” and “ why” of writing a personal journal. This text is part of a collection of books in the “Writing Builders” series, designed to help children become better writers. To that end, it entertains readers with a good story while teaching them the basics of journal writing. The main characters of the story, Jesse and Jasmine, are given empty notebooks to use as journals when they first start out with their family on a car trip. Embedded in the friendly dialogue between the children and their mom, and as shown in the detailed illustrations throughout the text, young readers learn by seeing that journal writing includes a date for each entry, accompanying pictures or diagrams, lists of questions, activities or experiences, and narratives about how the journalist feels about what he/she is experiencing at the time of the written entry. Jesse and Jasmine use their journals differently and as they share their journal entries with each other, they both learn a variety of ways that journals can be used to express feelings, share details about events, or chronicle events over time. This appealing story and unique presentation of many interesting ways that young readers can use journals is likely to prompt readers to try out journal writing for themselves the next time they go on a trip with their family. Reviewer: Susan Borges; Ages 8 to 12.
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