Books about Books

Books are generous things, but these three are more generous than most – they share how they were made.

In I Want To Be In A Book by Narelle Oliver (Scholastic) the action takes place on and around the author-illustrator’s desk. Cecil, a lizard-y creature sketched out on lined notepaper, has been patient, but he can’t wait to be the hero of a real book. He eventually uses his paper muscles to leap into the pages of a story – only to have a narrow escape from the claws of a bird of prey. He ends up making his way into the most exciting book of all – her Story Ideas book.

Look! I Wrote A Book! (And You Can Too!) by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Neal Layton (Schwartz and Wade) is a jokey, yet totally instructive guide to producing your own book.

Along with plenty giggles, there is a great deal of rock solid advice here, delivered by an amped up little girl with horizontal ponytails (I love love love Neal Layton’s illustrations): write about what you know, decide who your audience is, make sure your title is appropriate. And the cover with its infinite image of the girl holding her book on the front cover of the book blew my kids minds a little.

We picked up My Worst Book Ever! by Allan Ahlberg (Thames and Hudson) in the library the other day and it’s been requested for repeat readings a number of times now. It’s not your usual bedtime story fare: Ahlberg take us through his incident-filled book-making process, with a fox, a cat, snails, his illustrator (the brilliant Bruce Ingman), his publisher and the printer’s 4 year old all intervening to create his Worst Book Ever.

As always, Ahlberg’s prose is a heap of fun to read aloud, even in the mangled version. Most of all, I love how infectiously he communicates his delight in writing here (“I was happy – joyful! – doing the work I was born to do”), and most of all in writing his “favourite two words in all the world, The End.”

My Worst Book Ever! borrowed from Duncraig Library, Perth.

I Want To Be In A Book and Look! I Wrote A Book borrowed from Karrinyup Library, Perth.

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