Reviews for Best Story

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
To win a writing contest, a young author consults her family for ideas. She tries out each suggestion--action, humor, pathos, romance--in turn. But it isn't until she follows her mother's advice and writes from the heart that she pens a story to be proud of. Lively energy and imagination permeate both the watercolor and ink illustrations and the warm text. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #1
What makes the best story? That's the question Anne finds herself asking her family when she sets out to win a writing contest but discovers that "this writing stuff [is] hard and lonely." In turns, her brother tells her to put in lots of action, her father advises comedy, her aunt instructs her to make it sad and her cousin says that "if it's not romantic it's a loser." Anne revises her tale to adapt each time, resulting in a hodgepodge of rogue plot elements. Wilsdorf's gleeful cartoons make the most of their opportunities: A monkey weeps at the funeral of his pet goldfish in one iteration, then dances at his wedding to the pirate's sister in the next. What's a budding author to do? With a little sound counsel from her mother, Anne writes what she knows, from her heart. "Maybe I'll win … and maybe I won't. Either way, I'll be happy…. Because the story I wrote is my own.… And that makes it the best." (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 August

Gr 1-3-- Spinelli fashions a plot that goes to the core of storytelling: writing from the heart. Motivated by the Red Brick Library's contest to "write the best story" and the added attraction of "a ride on the Sooper Dooper Looper roller coaster" with her favorite author, this pigtailed, blond (unnamed) heroine sets out to win the prize. Stymied, she consults her brother, who suggests action; her father, who wants plenty of humor; her Aunt Jane, who advises to make people cry; and cousin Anika, who longs for romance. The resulting hodgepodge satisfies no one--including herself. Only after Mom's astute recommendation (writing from the heart) does the would-be author find satisfaction. Whether she wins the prize or not is left to speculation, but readers will realize that her "best story" is the one she accomplishes on her own. Wilsdorf perks up this somewhat predictable, but nevertheless affirming, tale with energetic, comical drawings awash in lively colors. As the story variations flow off the girl's writing pad, images of a pirate, a shark, a monkey, a cat, and a girl named Grace frolic across the pages in a variety of guises and situations. In addition, the amusing background details are sure to provoke a giggle. While this book may not attract individual readers, it will work well as an introduction to creative writing in the classroom and give hope to any young writer trying to turn an idea into a good story.--Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

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