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Words, Wit, and Wonder


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About the Author

Nancy Loewen writes fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Recent awards include: 2012 Minnesota Book Awards finalist (The LAST Day of Kindergarten); 2011 Bank Street's Best Children's Books of the Year (Share a Scare: Writing Your Own Scary Story); 2011 Book of Note, Tri-State Young Adult Review Committee (Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes); and 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers (Writer's Toolbox Series). She's also received awards from The American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Independent Book Publishers Association, and the Society of School Librarians International. Nancy holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University, St. Paul. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two teenage children.


Gr 1-3-Each book explains a specific type of writing and shows how various "tools" are used in creating it. For example, Fairy Tale demonstrates the use of setting, characters, and magic, among other devices, in "Little Red Riding Hood." Some of the tools covered in Picture Book are dividing the story into parts, setting up a problem or struggle, and using illustrations to advance the plot. Letter shows the proper format for such a missive and explains, for example, how to write the greeting, what should be in the body, and how to close. Budding poets will find descriptions of the use of rhythm, rhyme, and metaphors among the tools outlined in Poem. Purists may disagree with the definition of "fairy tale" in that book (".very old stories with magical characters"), as well as with some liberties that are taken with the traditional tale discussed. In addition, no source is given for this particular version, which would seem de rigueur. The mixed-media illustrations are reasonably attractive but not outstanding. The illustrator seems to struggle a bit with proper body proportions, but this is a minor quibble in otherwise attractive and useful books. In all titles, "Let's Review" sections summarize the tools previously outlined, and "Getting Started Exercises" provide writing prompts.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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