Spinelli, Eileen. (2008). The Best Story. A. Wilsdorf. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Literary Genre: Picture Storybook
A young girl (unnamed) is inspired to enter the Red Brick Library’s writing contest. Her brother suggests writing a story with action, her father advises having plenty of humor, her aunt thinks the best stories make you cry, and her teenage cousin wants to see some romance. Bright watercolor paintings illustrate the wacky story the girl keeps modifying to satisfy all the suggestions of her family members, until finally, the girl’s mother shares that the best story is “one that comes from the heart.” The girl writes about her family, two best friends, her cat, snow days, toast with strawberry jam and other things from her heart. As she is turning her story into the judges, she already feels like a winner!
What a great message! I can relate to this book because as I child, I often struggled with finding topics to write about. This book is a nice way of reminding children that stories they read come from the author’s heart and they should write from their hearts. The artwork definitely enhances the text bring the pirate, frogs, monkey, and onions to life. A variety of sentence structures are used which makes the book a good candidate for teaching features of writing. I did not appreciate the main character being nameless, if she is learning to write from her heart, the readers should know who “her” is. This might make it difficult for younger students to connect to the book because they need concrete things like names to make the story meaningful for them.