Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: This Is a Good Story by Adam Lehrhaupt

by Adam Lehrhaupt
Illustrated by Magali le Huche
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book 
ages 4 to 8
40 pages

From E.B. White Read Aloud author Adam Lehrhaupt comes an inspiring new picture book that takes apart the pieces of a story—hero, heroine, setting, conflict—and asks the reader to put the story back together again. This is a good story…or is it?

As a child takes her pencil and begins to draw pictures for a story, the narrator takes her and the reader through a rollicking sequence of events in this classic tale of bad guys and townsfolk and dungeons. With simplicity and flair, Adam tells a story and then a meta-story of the parts of the story at once! This Is a Good Story is a wonderful primer on the parts of a story and an imaginative way to encourage creative thinking, writing, and storytelling.


Setting, plot, climax and other story terms come to life when accompanied by this lively and humorous adventure.

This picture book introduces the various parts of a story--hero/heroine, setting, climax, etc--while following a girl as she writes an adventure. But sometimes, not everything runs as smoothly as it should.

To make a 'good' story, several things are necessary. By following a small adventure from start to finish, the most vital parts of a tale are not only mentioned but used in an immediate example. The tale starts with the introduction of a hero and heroine, and goes on from there, hitting each story part as it should come. All along, an adventure is growing where the hero, heroine and even the villain throw in humorous spice of their own. It's cute, it's humorous and it flows well. But this isn't a book for the youngest listeners.

The text is held to short phrases on each spread, but that doesn't mean it's simple. There's the story part terminology, which is very clearly printed and stands in center point of the tale, but may be a bit too high of a concept for kids under age 5 or 6. To help out, there's also a quick glossary at the end. Some of the other vocabulary used might also be a little high for younger readers. As a story, the text is lacking, but as a guide to help learn the parts of a tale, it offers lots of room for open discussion or sudden questions. Older listeners might find the text on the childish side, though.

The play back and forth from text to illustrations is well done. The text carries the learning, while the illustrations run alongside with their own cute story. Humor ensues, which makes the drier aspects of the book much more fun, and is sure to draw a few smiles as those silly characters tend to run out of control. It's a simpler type of drawing, but never misses on details and brings everything across crystal clear.

Summed up, this is an entertaining way to discuss and learn about forming a story as well as what parts are crucial to make it good. Despite the small amount of text, it's not a concept that younger readers will easily grasp and would be better for those who already know how to read and write (so they can make their own story). As a learning tool, it's cute and sure to bring some giggles too.

And here they are. . .

The author. . .

Adam Lehrhaupt's first picture book, Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, received the E.B. White Read Aloud Honor Award, was an ALA notable Book, and a Huffington Post Notable Book. School Library Journal called it, 'More fun than a barrel of monkeys." He is also the author of Please, Open This Book!, which was named a Wanda Gag Comstock Read aloud Honor Book and Idea Jar. Adam has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his wife, sons and two bizarre dogs. Visit him online a t AdamLehrhaupt.com.

The Illustrator. . .

Magali le Huche was born in Paris. She stsudied illustration in Strasbourg then returned to Paris where she works on children's books and for the press. She regularly teaches workshops for children.

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