A Squiggly Story

illus. by Mike Lowery. 32p. Kids Can. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771380164.
PreS-Gr 2—What happens when you have a story but you're not sure how to write it down? Larsen introduces a boy as he struggles to write a story, even though his sister tells him it's easy. The feeling of frustration at not being able to form letters, the excitement of reading a story aloud to the class, and the just-a-little-bit bossy older sister will all be relatable elements to young readers. Because the book shows the boy employing several real-life strategies for prewriters, like starting to write with well-known letters and drawing pictures in place of words where the letters are unknown, this is especially recommended for school library collections. Teachers may find it can be used as a model text during writing units for preschool and kindergarten. The title is illustrated in a graphic novel-style, with speech bubbles and boxes for different images on some pages. The palette of greens, beiges, pinks, yellows, and blues is cool, and the simply drawn cartoon characters are stylized but expressive. The boy and his sister and the students in the boy's class are illustrated with a wide variety of skin tones, giving this volume an inclusive feel.
VERDICT A solid read-aloud for most any children's collection, but especially where writing is emphasized at an early age.

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