Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Plot Chickens

The Plot Chickens. Mary Jane Auch. Illustrated by Herm Auch. 2009. Holiday House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Henrietta loved to read. Soon she had read every book on the farm a dozen times, so she went to town to find more. When she spotted people carrying books out of the library, she went inside to wait in line. When it was Henrietta's turn, the librarian said, "We have nothing for chickens here. Try the feed store." Frustrated, Henrietta clucked at the top of her lungs: BUK, BUK, BUK!" "Well, why didn't you say so?" The librarian handed her three books.

Premise/plot: Henrietta the hen loves, loves, loves to read. But one day she decides that she might like to write as well. She's never written a book before, but, with a little help from a book about writing, she begins the long writing process. Writing has rules, and, she is determined to follow them. Will this mean her book gets published? that her book is favorably reviewed? placed on library shelves? The answer may just surprise you!

My thoughts: I really loved this one. I loved seeing Henrietta and the other hens (her aunts mainly) work together in the writing process. I loved seeing the actual finished story. But even more I loved how the book captured the process of writing. Here are the rules she sets out to follow:

1) You need a main character.
2) You need to hatch a plot.
3) Give your main character a problem.
4) Develop your plot by asking, "What if?"
5) Write what you know.
6) Build suspense.
7) Make your story come alive by using all five senses.
8) The main character must solve her (or his) own problem.

As you can see, this isn't bad advice! The book has humor as well. For example, the publisher who rejects the story is named Hunter Fox. And the reviewer from Corn Book who hated her review was named Noah Lyke. There is plenty of pun-based humor as well.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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