Friday, September 08, 2006


DEAR MAX by Sally Grindley, illustrated by Tony Ross (McElderberry Books)
Fans of Beverly Cleary's DEAR MR. HENSHAW and Sharon Creech's LOVE THAT DOG will appreciate this reader/author friendship story, in which correspondence with a celebrated wordsmith both illuminates the process of pen to paper and helps a boy work through his problems. To avoid disappointment, children should be forewarned that such lengthy letter-writing connections between author and reader are largely fictitious, and that it often takes a while for authors to write back once; if authors spent so much time with correspondences, they would not have time to write their books! However, we can benefit from this imaginative relay, especially in appreciating the growth and value of Max as a character: a gentle, imaginative boy who is the unlucky target of a school bully, trying to get over the loss of a parent and his own health concerns. As the famous author values the Max's story by viewing it through the writerly eye, children can learn to value their own stories. (8 and up)

Also of interest:
WINNIE AT HER BEST by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, illustrated by Alissa Imre Geis (Houghton Mifflin) In this latest of the fetching series that features realistic girl situations, Winnie sees her friends being "the best" at things, and wonders at what her own special gift might be. (8 and up)

WRITING MAGIC by Gail Carson Levine (HarperCollins) The author of ELLA ENCHANTED and its recent sequel, FAIREST, shares some of her most valuable writing strategies for children (and the young-at-heart). (9 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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