cover image Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!)

Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!)

Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by Neal Layton. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-55818-4

Lloyd-Jones (Hats Off to Mr. Pockles!) and Layton (Danny McGee Drinks the Sea) offer a straightforward how-to that’s less about imagination as a precious jewel and more “get all your crayons in a row.” A pigtailed girl, the exemplar of a budding author, counsels readers on how to appeal to specific audiences (no scary stories for babies), create grabby titles and narrative arcs, incorporate feedback (“Can there be a light saber?”), and sell, sell, sell (if achieving a captive audience means tying someone to a chair, why not?). The “don’t” portions of the advice—mostly conveyed in the mixed-media cartooning, asides, and handwritten commentary—are also the source of comedy: don’t title a book How to Change a Diaper, don’t open a book with “First we stood up. Next we sat down.” Sure, authorship’s a lot of work, but when it’s all over, Lloyd-Jones promises, “you just go back to being a normal person”—unless you get bit by the sequel bug. Readers should relish being taken into the confidence of a character who epitomizes both practical problem solving and success. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown Ltd. Illustrator’s agent: Alan Lynch, Arena Illustration. [em](July) [/em] Correction: A previous version of this review substituted the illustrator's name for the author's in one line.