School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—These titles provide youngsters with the steps to follow to produce a well-written report, story, or piece of narrative nonfiction. Each title begins with a note from a character with important terms in bold font. Report finds Rick and Rachel learning to write a research paper using note cards to organize information. Frank and Fiona create a story as part of a contest at school in the second book. In Nonfiction, Neil and Nan brainstorm; use a graphic organizer to sort through the beginning, middle, and end of their work; and learn about descriptive and linking words, and using a hook to get readers' attention. Each title ends with a spread that outlines the creative process the characters followed in the narrative. The children are the same ages as the target audience, and the many ideas will encourage young scribes. The text and illustrations (many full page) are nicely balanced. Solid additions for libraries with gaps to fill.—Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN
Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Neil and Nan must choose a topic about a place they have been and write an account of their visit. Neil’s mom helps them get started by encouraging them to write their essay like a story. They come up with a couple of places and she has them to write down details of each place. They settle on an amusement park that they visited on a field trip. The next step is writing a ‘hook’, a first sentence that will hook their readers and make them want to finish the essay. Using a worksheet called a graphic organizer helps them decide on three main ideas. After filling out specific information about their three main ideas, they add sensory details and then write their conclusion. Part of a series called “Writing Builders,” this title is one of the better entries in the series. The story is natural and the children are not getting advice from unlikely sources. There is a glossary and a brief bibliography at the end as well as a step-by-step guide for writing a good narrative nonfiction essay. The price of the hardcover edition is prohibitive for teachers and many school libraries, but there is a paperback edition is very affordable. Recommended. Reviewer: Ellen Welty; Ages 7 to 10.