Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Lucky Author Has a Dog

A Lucky Author Has a Dog

Written by Mary Lyn Ray; illustrated by Steven Henry

Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015, Grades-Kindergarten to 2nd

This book is a picture book that goes through the story of an author and her loyal dog. It begins with an author waking up and going through the daily process of trying to write a story. The book explains that authors write in all different locations like offices, outside, even in bed. The dog watches his author try to write, even though sometimes it is hard for her to come up with a story. The author even goes into a school and talks about her work with a group of students. The book also describes how authors can get inspiration from anything, and sometimes it may take a while to find what they want to write about. Throughout the whole story, the loyal dog stays by the author’s side and helps her along. 

Mary Lyn Ray is the author of this book, and she has a great style of writing that engages the audience. The book is a fiction book, with fictional characters, but the story line of the book is based on true events of how authors work. The fiction aspect of the author is intriguing, but the dog is also a huge part of the book. The style of writing also has some dialogue throughout the text, which also works to engage the audience. Children listening to this story being read to them may have some of the same questions that the class in the book have. This can help children to feel connected to the story. There are also no names given to the characters in this story, they are simply referred to as author and dog. I think that this is another way for children to feel connected to the story, because they can look at themselves as the characters. Overall, I think that Mary Lyn Ray’s writing style in the book really engages children reading this book. 

The illustrations in this book are very detailed. There is an illustration on each page, all filled with color. From the steps of the apartment to the fur of the dog, there is so much detail on each page. One big thing I noticed with the illustrations is that each one shows a very realistic scene. They illustrate real life activities like moving homes, going on a walk, and waking up. Children especially will enjoy these pictures because they can picture themselves in the same situations. The illustrations also add life to the text of the book. For example, the illustration of the author and the dog going on a walk truly seems to jump off the page. 

After reading this book, I think that it is a wonderful book to read with students and I would recommend it to others. The book is about an author, which I think opens great discussions for students. It talks about the process of how an author writes, and this is important for students to learn. It also shows that sometimes an author might not be able to write their story the first time they try, it may take a while. This is an important lesson for children to learn. Students listening to the book will better understand that they should keep trying if they do not succeed right away. The character of the dog is also familiar to many students, so it is entertaining to them. Many children have a dog, or know someone with a dog, so they can picture their own dog in the story. This is a great book for young children to learn about the process of writing. I also like that it looks at some of the challenges of writing like the fact that sometimes it may take time to put thoughts into words. Being an author is not an easy task, but with a loyal friend like the dog in the story, it can be a little bit easier. 

Reviewed by Maggie Ernstes

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