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A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing + The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) + Ereth's Birthday (Tales from Dimwood Forest)
Price for all three: $24.07

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition (A) edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015205555X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152055554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

First introduced in the 2004 book The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant), Avon the Snail and Edward the Ant return, this time on a quest to write writing. Avon has decided to become an author, and Edward, with more ideas than practical ways to contribute, is determined to assist. The plot is minimal, and exists only as a field on which Avi engages in every manner of wordplay, crafting an early chapter book that sits squarely between Peggy Parish’s Amelia Bedelia stories and Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine. The small trim size, large typeface, and Tusa’s sweet pencil sketches suggest an audience even younger than the target readership, though some of them won’t catch all the puns. But it’s easy to imagine the right child sitting at the dinner table or in the back seat of the car, or traipsing through the grocery store, exhausting the patience of  assembled, captive family with a word-for-word account of Avon and Edward’s hilarious exploits. Grades 1-3. --Thom Barthelmess

Review

Kirkus Reviews Invertebrate and inadvertent punsters Avon the snail and Edward the ant explore new territory: storytelling. While Avon sets his cap at writing about-instead of undertaking-an adventure, Edward provides him with encouragement and advice. What makes a good story? How do you write one? Avon grapples with these large and challenging questions in 17 dialogue-filled short chapters, jam-packed with double meanings and plays on words and ideas. There's not much plot here for readers who require action and activity, but Avi's protagonists continue to radiate plenty of unprepossessing charm and kindness toward each other and the world around. Tusa's simple line drawings capture a snail's-eye view of the world of tree, leaf and bird, and bestow a droll sincerity on the faces of Avon and Edward. (Fiction. 8-12) (Kirkus Reviews ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

More info at avi-writer.com and facebook.com/avi.writer
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Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Avi-writer.com. Follow Avi on Facebook, facebook.com/avi.writer, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

Customer Reviews

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I read the book aloud to my wife and children and we all loved it.
Tom Carpenter
This is filled with humorous puns, with the snail always taking everything literally (like in Amelia Bedelia).
J. Foster
This delightful book is brimming with wordplay that will entertain both young readers and adults.
D. Gephart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Write what you know - it's a common proverb told to all writers. "A Beginning, A Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing" is a guide designed for all ages to help writers get off on the right foot in creating excellent writing, writing that people will want to read, and how to avoid the common pitfalls that so many writers tend to fall into. Composed in the form of a short fictional story that children writers will be able to relate too, and enhanced with beautiful illustrations by Tricia Tusa, "A beginning, a Muddle, and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing" is highly recommended for writers of all ages and for community library children's fiction sections as a strange bridge between picture books, chapter books, and non fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom Carpenter VINE VOICE on December 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If a snail can overcome writer's block, then so can I. This book is both funny and inspiring. It a great reminder of the fundamentals of writing and a cute story for children too. I read the book aloud to my wife and children and we all loved it. In fact, we were reading a children's series of books that is a top rated series. I read one chapter of this book to my children and they were asking for more of the ant and the snail before allowing me to go on with the other popular series. That tells you how much children love this book.

There are times when the concepts underlying the story may need to be explained, if you choose to use it as a teaching tool. However, if you allow the book to be the story that it is, the lessons will emerge with the maturity of your children.

I know we'll be reading A Beginning a Muddle and an End again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Kimberland on May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a sequel. My son,who is 8, says this is one of his favorite series of books. It was an easy read for him, not challenging, but enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Gephart on November 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This delightful book is brimming with wordplay that will entertain both young readers and adults. As a writer, I particularly enjoyed the character's struggle to come up with something about which to write. Grab this book for the word-lover in your life. It's really SOMETHING!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Foster on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this the other day on a whim, simply based on the title and fun pictures inside. What a treasure I found!! I started by reading it to myself, but after the first couple of paragraphs I would say "hey, listen to this" to my roommates, and after doing that three or four times, I ended up reading almost the whole thing out loud to everyone. This book would be great for children 6-9 (or older if they still like charming books) or anyone who wants to be a writer. This is filled with humorous puns, with the snail always taking everything literally (like in Amelia Bedelia).

Some quotes from the beginning of the story:

"My apologies, said Edward (an ant)in haste. "I sometimes forget that we ants have a LOT of hands."
"I always thought they were legs." said Avon (a snail).
"It depends."
"On what?"
"Sometimes its good to have a leg up. Other times its good to be handy."
"My mother thought I was handsome. I've always tried to hold onto that."

"Let's agree then," said Edward, "that in regard to this story your writing, if you're about to come to a conclusion, you'll head off in another direction. You might even find your own voice."
"It must be strange," mused Avon, "to be strolling about and suddenly come upon your voice just sitting there."
"I can only hope," said Edward, "it doesn't speak a foreign language."
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