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*Creative Writing: The Plot Thickens (Basher Basics)* by Simon Basher and Mary Budzik - middle grades book review
Also by Simon Basher:

U.S. Presidents: Oval Office All-Stars (Basher History)

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!
Creative Writing: The Plot Thickens (Basher Basics)
by Simon Basher and Mary Budzik
Ages 8+ 64 pages Kingfisher July 2013 Paperback    

Basher brings basic concepts of creative writing to children in this easy-to-understand and gorgeously illustrated guide.

A square book format with double-page layouts for each term or definition, combined with glossy pages, an easy-to-read font, crisp colors and simple but endearing anime characters, makes for a visually appealing page-turner.

Basher’s explanations of the different aspects of creative writing are equally clear and engaging. The contents are divided into five chapters. The first chapter, What’s the Story?, explains the various genres in writing, including mystery, sci-fi and diary.

Each genre is explained in the first person by the cute cartoon figure in an illustration that displays elements of the genre described. For example, the mystery genre descriptions reveals two figures with question marks on their brown trench coasts, carrying large magnifying glasses, examining their surroundings which include small puddles around an a semi-innocuous-looking dagger and some red drops.

Chapter Two covers Scene Setters and includes definitions and information about Title, Theme, Setting and Atmosphere, all presented with the equally cute characters and clear bullet definitions, full-length definitions and suggestions on how to use them.

The third chapter deals with Schemers and Dreamers, which discusses Plot, Structure, Flashback and Flash-forward, Plot Device and Denouement. Heroes and Villains is covered in Chapter Four (which like the other chapters is color-coded on the side of the page for easy identification of the chapters) and features information on Character, Protagonist, Antagonist, Viewpoint, First and Third Person.

The final chapter, entitled Wordsmiths, deals with Figurative Language, Diction and Dialogue. This thorough book also offers a Glossary and a colorful poster that highlights all the aspects of Creative Writing chapters to make it a visually accessible to children.

Basher’s Creative Writing boasts an effective combination of easy-to-comprehend information, bold layout and visually appealing characters makes for an educational and engaging read for aspiring writers. Highly recommended.
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  Maya Fleischmann/2013 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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