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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,...
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.
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