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LOOK! I WROTE A BOOK! by Sally Lloyd-Jones


(And You Can Too!)

by Sally Lloyd-Jones ; illustrated by Neal Layton

Pub Date: July 23rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-399-55818-4
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

From inspiration to finished tome, a child author demystifies the process.

Part tongue-in-cheek commentary and part literary DIY, this book features witty tips and tricks for generating ideas, turning them into stories, and then publicizing your work, all based on the narrator’s own, albeit naïve, experiences. Starting with “a Good Idea,” the child guides aspiring authors through choosing a title, crafting the parts of a story, and inventing an ending, even covering the crucial revision process. Particularly helpfully, the narrator explains how fiction means “you made it up” and nonfiction means “you ABSOLUTELY didn’t make it up.” Some of the advice, however, falls a bit short: In 2019, a traditional, gender- and age-based interest in story content seems limiting (since grandmas can like dump trucks and tractors, too!); also, young children can indeed handle big words through context clues and illustrations. It’s unclear at times whether this advice is satirical or serious. The mixed-media illustrations are a bit too simplistic and caricatured in style, though they do present a diverse cast of characters. And yet the self-referential cover image seems to indicate the book’s obsession with its own cleverness. The protagonist appears to be a child of color, with medium-brown skin and straight brown pigtails that stick straight out.

Not really enough of a story for telling a story about storytelling

. (Picture book. 4-8)