From School Library Journal
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, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
How many ways can one tell or write the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice? That depends on how many literary tricks one uses! Lewis has created an excellent resource guide that introduces a multitude of literary elements aimed at teachers, budding writers, or those students who just want to impress their instructors. Readers will learn about plots and epilogues, yes, but also lesser-known elements, such as sentence diagrams (some of us remember these with pleasure or disdain) and bildungsroman—in each case, she names the element and then gives an example of its use. With Swarte’s humorous and irreverent little illustrations, this slim volume could become a prized possession for middle- and high-school teachers and part of their classroom or school libraries. However, its appeal as a stand-alone read for teens is limited. The glossary and index were not available for review, but should enhance the benefit even further. Grades 5-8. --J. B. Petty