Little Red Writing

( 3 )


Acclaimed writer Joan Holub and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet team up in this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000)... and saves the day.

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Acclaimed writer Joan Holub and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet team up in this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000)... and saves the day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/09/2013
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 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.)
From the Publisher
"Style, humor, and solid writing advice."-Publishers Weekly, starred review

"So rich in words and wry humor-written and visual-that one reading just isn't enough."-School Library Journal, starred review

"Reluctant writers will relate to this fun tale of defeating doubt and will gain confidence to share their words, no matter what the obstacles."—Lee Littlewood, Cretor's Syndicate

"Packs several grammar lessons into a story borrowed heavily from Little Red Riding Hood."—Cool Mom Picks

"Full of fun and information. Teachers and aspiring young writers will embrace this lively story."-The Horn Book Magazine

"Every writers' group should start with this story."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This parody of Little Red Riding Hood takes place in pencil school. Ms. 2 tells the class they are going to write a story. Other pencils have different ideas, but Little Red wants to write about bravery. With a basket of nouns, she begins to write her story. As she tries to make it exciting, she bounces off the page into "a deep, dark, descriptive forest." She acquires some "conjunction glue," which unfortunately keeps her sentences running on and on until she is saved by some adverbs. In the middle of her story, she is chased to the next page by a loud growly sound. From there she follows a "tail" to the principal's office. There she encounters "Principal Granny," who is really Wolf 3000, a threatening pencil sharpener. Throwing her last noun, "dynamite," Red saves the day and her imaginative story. This tale of an anthropomorphic pencil fills all pages with wild images and linguistic information, using comic adventures in text, speech balloons, and labels. Illustrator Sweet creates believable characters with watercolors, pencil, and collage. Clever end pages introduce the characters all sharpened and ready to start their stories at the beginning; then end with a warning about the "book edge" and a notice from Ms. 2 to "Write On!" "Write often and carry a big notebook" is the message on the title page for ambitious young readers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
K-Gr 2—Written with wit, humor, and puns galore, this fractured fairy tale features Little Red, a pencil in search of a story. Given a writing assignment by her teacher Ms. 2, Little Red travels down the story path with a basket of red nouns looking for the kind of tale that will allow her to display bravery and fight evil, "because red is the color of courage. But what would a brave pencil do?" As she journeys around the school, she encounters action words at the gym, descriptive words at the library, etc., until she comes across a long tangly tail that is up to no good. Brave Little Red follows it into Principal Granny's office where she comes upon the Wolf 3000, "the grumpiest, growliest, grindingest pencil sharpener ever made!" This is a book so rich in words and wry humor-written and visual-that one reading just isn't enough. Imagine kids running to the dictionary to look up "bosky" and "tenebrous" after getting bogged down in the dark, descriptive forest (the school library) or poring over Sweet's characteristically engaging watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations for delicious details, such as the pencil school newspaper with the motto "We get to the point." These pictures don't merely enhance Holub's clever text, they become a part of it through the use of layered papers upon which the dialogue is literally written in pencil. Little Red's classmates run the gamut of childhood types, each distinguished by its individualized eraser. Creative and fun, this book works equally well for storytime or story writing. Pair it with Janet Stevens's The Little Red Pen (Houghton, 2011) for the full gamut of school-supplies silliness.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-08-15
Exploding with puns, wordplay and the irrepressible desire to re-imagine "Little Red Riding Hood" one more time, Holub and Sweet bring forth some actual useful writing advice--that's not just for beginners. It's Write On! Day at the Pencilvania School, and all the little pencils and their teacher, Ms. 2, are about to follow the story path. Ms. 2 gives our heroine, Little Red, a basket of nouns and reminds her to stick to the path. She becomes entangled in descriptive adjectives, stuck in a sentence that just keeps going, and is rescued and then ambushed by adverbs and random nouns. Principal Granny seems to have a long electric tail and a growly voice when Little Red gets to her office. It's not the principal but the Wolf 3000--a voracious pencil sharpener! But Little Red has one noun left, and she uses it judiciously. Watercolor, pencil and collage give the magnificent Sweet lots of material to play with: The little pencil-pupils each have an identifying eraser cap (a stegosaurus, a basketball, a map of Pencilvania). When Little Red looks for excitement in her story, she goes to the gym and is "quickly drawn into the action," as all the pencils twist, jump and play catch on the page. The artwork--which integrates written text in a variety of lettering styles--fills the pages with a riot of color, shape, movement and design. Endpapers and title pages are all part of the tale. Little kids should love the illustrations and their multiplicity of meanings, and older children trying out their writing wings will find good, strong advice. Every writers' group should start with this story. (Picture book. 7 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811878692
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 37,299
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Holub

Joan Holub has hundreds of pencils. Some are red. Others are glittery, sporty, or full of holiday cheer. They are all super sharp and good at writing books. They've helped Joan write more than 130 books, including Zero the Hero and Knuckleheads. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children's books, including the Caldecott Honor–winning River of Words and the Sibert Medal–winning Balloons Over Broadway. When not in her studio, Melissa loves to ride her bicycle and hike with her two dogs, Rufus and Nellie. She lives in Rockport, Maine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is a cute story of a red pencil who is challenged to write

    This is a cute story of a red pencil who is challenged to write a story. But, this is not just a cute story. There is so much to learn throughout this book.  When Mrs. 2 tells her class they are going to write a story she has the writing "story path" on the board. Little red is given a basket of useful words as she goes off on her writing journey. The book demonstrates the importance of using vivid words to spice up your story We learn how too many adjectives ca bog your writing down. Run-on sentences, as well as, chasing something new can lead to a wonderful ending.  This is a wonderful take on the "Little Red Riding Hood" story with a twist. This is a great way to introduce story writing ot only to the youngest writers, but also to the reluctant writer. This is a bok I will definitely use in my classroom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Little red writing

    I like the part that the wolf was chaseing little red becuse it was funny and i like it.

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  • Posted October 15, 2013

    I really like the illustrations. They are put in a collage-y way

    I really like the illustrations. They are put in a collage-y way. I like all of the different fonts in the story. I find it fun to read. I like how this book talks about the “dangers” of writing and different word groups. My favorite part of the book is when Mr. Woodcutter, the janitor, comes into Principal Granny’s office, and faints when he realizes that “the Wolf 3000 has sharpened Principal Granny to Smithereens!” :) I love fractured fairy tales, and this book is the exact reason why – the humor and the parodies (the theater presents “Peter Pencil” and they live in Pencilvania :) )! :D I also like it because Little Red uses words to help her along her journey in the book. It also tells kids how to write a story (what the basic parts are) in a fun way. Ms. Holub has written a perfect picture book!
    **NOTE I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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