Picturebook Review: Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet

Little Red Writing is a picturebook written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. This story is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, as you might have guessed from the title. Little Red Pencil is at school and her class is tasked with writing a story. In doing so Red works through many perils of storytelling, such as getting lost in the adjective forest, and in the end faces off with a cranky pencil sharpener to save the day.
Little Red Writing is a great picturebook to inspire young readers (and listeners) to tell their own stories. Red faces the prospect of making up her own story. Like her, many writers fall pray to using too much conjunction glue, a jungle of adjectives, and dealing with adverb drama. The story is also about bravery, the fact that courage is not about denying fear but recognizing your fear and doing the right thing anyway. I think both aspects of the story can lead to great discussion and storytime fun for all ages. The artwork by Melissa Sweet perfectly matches the mood and action of the story and gives readers even more to play with and discuss. Each pencil in Little Red's class, and the school faculty, is clearly an individual and cleverly described. The words and writing tools in the pictures are splendid and can offer reading challenges and I Spy style games for one on one or small group reading.

I highly recommend Little Red Writing to readers of all ages. I think young aspiring writers will get a special thrill from the story, and the strong character of Little Red Pencil might inspire girls and boys alike to recognize their own imagination and courage. Libraries, schools, and home collections would all be enhanced by the addition of this great picturebook.

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