LEWIS, Catherine. Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice. illus. by Joost Swarte. 144p. appendix. diag. glossary. index. S & S/Atheneum. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5784-3. ebook available. LC 2012010644.
Gr 8 Up–Lewis offers a witty and whimsical guide for burgeoning scribes that includes definitions of common literary terms as well as writing advice. With a page or two devoted to each, elements such as intertextuality, farce, foreshadowing, and leitmotif are explained using the nursery rhyme about three blind mice. The author has created a background story for the mice and developed distinct personalities for each one as she uses their tale to define the selected literary elements. Concepts are succinctly summarized at the end of each page. Playful black-and-white illustrations of the mice in action add visual interest. Other writing advice includes topics such as how to build suspense, how and when to incorporate sentimentality, and how to effectively include potentially distracting content such as sex or expletives. Explanations are interesting and clever, turning formerly lackluster definitions of literary terms into entertainment. Useful for readers who want to hone their writing skills as well as creative-writing classes.–Ragan O’Malley, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, NY