The Best Story

Overview

The best story is one that comes from the heart The library is having a contest for the best story, and the quirky narrator of this story just has to win that rollercoaster ride with her favorite author! But what makes a story the best?

Her brother Tim says the best stories have lots of action. Her father thinks the best stories are the funniest. And Aunt Jane tells her the best stories have to make people cry. A story that does all these things doesn't seem quite right, though,...

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Overview

The best story is one that comes from the heart The library is having a contest for the best story, and the quirky narrator of this story just has to win that rollercoaster ride with her favorite author! But what makes a story the best?

Her brother Tim says the best stories have lots of action. Her father thinks the best stories are the funniest. And Aunt Jane tells her the best stories have to make people cry. A story that does all these things doesn't seem quite right, though, and the one thing the whole family can agree on is that the best story has to be your own.

Anne Wilsdorf's hilarious illustrations perfectly capture this colorful family and their outrageous stories in Eileen Spinelli's heartfelt tale about creativity and finding your own voice.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When our young narrator sees the notice of the library's contest for the best story, she goes home determined to win. But "this writing stuff was hard and lonely. Maybe I needed help." Her brother Tim suggests lots of action, but it is still not right. Her dad thinks humor will help. Aunt Jane thinks the best stories make people cry. Cousin Anika says that without romance it is a loser. Our versatile author tries incorporating each suggestion. When she reads the finished story to them all, no one is satisfied. Her mother tells her that the best story must come from her own heart. Her rewritten tale is about her family, friends and life. She may win the contest, or she may not. But she still feels like a winner. For the moral is obvious: "Because the story I wrote is my own…And that makes it the best." As cute as our nearsighted, blond heroine is, the real star of the visuals is a cat, a puss that appears on all the scenes just fooling around. Sketchy, almost cartoon-y China ink and watercolors keep the emotions light-hearted, even funny. The adventurous pirate with a feather in his black hat and his polka-dot pajamas chopping animated onions with his sword is typical of the events that are visualized during our heroine's attempts. Let's hope others are inspired to write their "best." Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

Spinelli fashions a plot that goes to the core of storytelling: writing from the heart. Motivated by the Red Brick Library's contest to "write the best story" and the added attraction of "a ride on the Sooper Dooper Looper roller coaster" with her favorite author, this pigtailed, blond (unnamed) heroine sets out to win the prize. Stymied, she consults her brother, who suggests action; her father, who wants plenty of humor; her Aunt Jane, who advises to make people cry; and cousin Anika, who longs for romance. The resulting hodgepodge satisfies no one-including herself. Only after Mom's astute recommendation (writing from the heart) does the would-be author find satisfaction. Whether she wins the prize or not is left to speculation, but readers will realize that her "best story" is the one she accomplishes on her own. Wilsdorf perks up this somewhat predictable, but nevertheless affirming, tale with energetic, comical drawings awash in lively colors. As the story variations flow off the girl's writing pad, images of a pirate, a shark, a monkey, a cat, and a girl named Grace frolic across the pages in a variety of guises and situations. In addition, the amusing background details are sure to provoke a giggle. While this book may not attract individual readers, it will work well as an introduction to creative writing in the classroom and give hope to any young writer trying to turn an idea into a good story.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Kirkus Reviews
What makes the best story? That's the question Anne finds herself asking her family when she sets out to win a writing contest but discovers that "this writing stuff [is] hard and lonely." In turns, her brother tells her to put in lots of action, her father advises comedy, her aunt instructs her to make it sad and her cousin says that "if it's not romantic it's a loser." Anne revises her tale to adapt each time, resulting in a hodgepodge of rogue plot elements. Wilsdorf's gleeful cartoons make the most of their opportunities: A monkey weeps at the funeral of his pet goldfish in one iteration, then dances at his wedding to the pirate's sister in the next. What's a budding author to do? With a little sound counsel from her mother, Anne writes what she knows, from her heart. "Maybe I'll win . . . and maybe I won't. Either way, I'll be happy . . . . Because the story I wrote is my own. . . . And that makes it the best." (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803730557
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/29/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 14,511
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 390L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Anne Wilsdorf lives in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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