In Once Upon a Slime, Andy and his partner in lit-crime, Terry Denton, offer 45 fantabulous ways to get kids writing - FAST! And what I love about the content of this book is that it's written FOR the kids, not the teacher (although the teacher, and indeed, the writer, could also glean a heck of a lot from its content, regardless of intended market audience).
A quasi-biography in parts, Andy takes kids through his own writing journey (and a fascinating one, at that) with sneak peeks at his own early work - and even a photo of an old typewriter he bought at a primary school fete. Andy used this olden-day contraption to produce an independent school magazine called Popcorn, which was full of jokes and funny news articles - a sort of precursor to his own very successful books.
Along with highly-entertaining illustrations and snippets from past books, Andy's tips for writing inspiration run the full imagination gamut, from diary-construction and fast-writing techniques through to map-making, quizzes and tests, instructions and guides, and much more - making the daunting task of writing user-friendly to many types of kids, with varying interests and capabilities.
The entries are light but extremely clever - and most importantly - TOTALLY kid-friendly. Both boys and girls will love flicking through to find inspiration.
Only Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton could combine consummate humour with the 'task' of writing. I love how the rules of this book support the theory of 'no rules' - and frankly, giving children that complete and utter creative license and freedom? I urge you to find a better way to encourage them to write with gusto and commitment.
Rules come later - for now, Once Upon a Slime is both the rule breaker and the pen-inspirer. Brilliant.
Warning: this book will not please literary stalwarts (not that it's meant to).
Title: Once Upon a Slime
Author: Andy Griffiths
Illustrator: Terry Denton
Publisher: Pan Macmillan, $12.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 April 2013
For ages: 7+
Type: Non Fiction, Activity Books