Little Red Writing
Author: Joan Holub
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Published September 24th, 2013 by Chronicle Books
Goodreads Summary: 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.
My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I really think these wonderful woman created this book for just for teachers. It is a perfect, perfect, perfect book for a read aloud AND for a mentor text!
First, the book is a direct allusion to Red Riding Hood and is a great book to throw into the mix when looking at different versions of Red Riding Hood. I can just picture this book, with a version of the original story, Hoodwinked the movie, and Lon Po Po. Wow! What great discussions and activities you could do with this.
Second, this book is not just an awesome narrative and it includes a great lesson about writing a narrative. Red, our main character, is given the job to write a story and the book takes us through her journey of writing the story where she needs to include characters, setting, trouble, and fixing the trouble. A perfect opportunity to discuss narrative elements. Taking this even further, it would be so much fun to look at the ideas that each of the other pencils had for their stories and write the entire story. You would have to look at each pencil’s personality and think about how s/he would write the story.
Finally, the book also deals with some parts of speech and how to use them. First are verbs where Red looks for more interesting verbs. She then looks for adjectives to add description. Then learns the importance of conjunctions (but watch out! They can lead to run-on sentences). Finally came adverbs with a bit of punctuation and capitalization discussion. Each part of speech is discussed in a nonboring way and the introduction could be a jumping off point to a deeper discussion.
Discussion Questions: How did Red use adjectives throughout the story to help you visualize the action?; What ended up being Red’s trouble, how did it get worse, and how did she fix it?; Pick one of the other pencils’ stories. How do you think it would end?
Read This If You Loved: Red Riding Hood by Brothers Grimm, Lon Po Po by Ed Young, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt