Tuesday, January 8, 2019

No boring stories! by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Charles Santoso

I was not a fan of Snappsy the Alligator and so had firmly convinced myself that, ergo, I was not a fan of Julie Falatko. But then I read Two dogs in a trench coat go to school and laughed all the way through. And now I have found myself, however reluctantly, becoming a fan of her latest picture book. Clearly, Snappsy and I just didn't click but everything else is just fine.

The story begins on the end papers, as a cute, fluffy bunny tries a series of writing groups - fluffy bears, cute kittens, cuddly puppies... finally, she comes across the International Society for Writers of Odd and Weird. Trembling with hope, she makes her way past signs prohibiting cuteness, cuddling, and birthdays. At first, it looks like she will be welcomed as Star-Nosed Mole opens the meeting, but no, there are No Bunnies Allowed! The rest of the group shows up; Giraffe-Necked Weevil, Babirusa (a kind of pig), and Yeti Crab and they recap their story so far. Meanwhile, eyes are watching them...

As the story progresses, Bunny keeps trying to join them only to be kicked out at every turn. Finally, she begs to be allowed to join and explains that she doesn't want to be in boring, cute stories anymore! She wants to write weird, exciting stories like they do! Fine, she can listen. But she can't interrupt! The story is progressing nicely, with evil grapes, a babirusa princess, and... no ending. Maybe they do need Bunny's help to pick an ending after all?

Although a picture book, it's written and paced like a comic with panels lightly picked out in gray backgrounds, speech bubbles, and a nice flow between words and pictures. There are definitely some lessons about judging on appearances and finding your own place, not to mention polishing writing skills. However, it's also just a funny story about weird creatures and evil grapes.

Verdict: This is not only a fun story, it's a good choice for teachers to use in classrooms in writing units to encourage readers and writers to explore parts of a narrative and work together to create a story.

ISBN: 9780451476821; Published November 2018 by Viking; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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