October 31, 2008

Last spring, my school hosted a Young Authors’ Conference with Claire Ewart. With her gentle spirit, she shared “from words a story grows” and showed the children how she gathered ideas from nature, visiting places, and even observing in her backyard.  I’ll be sharing more of her the books she has authored and illustrated in the near future.  I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.  Thanks, Claire.

Claire Ewart illustrates a delightful mystery written by another Hoosier, Valiska Gregory, called The Mystery of the Grindlecat.  The end note in the book explains the purpose in writing the book:  in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Children Museum’s Haunted House in Indianapolis, IN.

The book is filled with many writing lesson possibilities.  On a first time read, this book has several avenues for prediction, conversation, and wonderings with your class.  Your kids will be hooked in with Claire’s brilliant illustrations and Valiska’s beautiful words.  Even the font used crates a spooky foreshadowing.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Mystery of the Grindlecat:

  • Enticing lead –
  • Magic of 3 – used with the characters, their dialogue; from phrases to sentences
  • Building Emotion with the use of Personification – “The tree branch knocked against her window.  ‘I hear the tapping of skeleton bones,’ she said.”
  • Simile – “… an enormous nose with a wart as black as a licorice drop.”
  • Show don’t Tell – “Then all together they knew exactly what to do.”