book review, Charlie Hatton, Children's Writing, Giveaway, Jenni Dlugos, Richard Peck, San Francisco Book Review, The Best Man, Things That Make You Go, Writing, Yuck!: Crooked Critters

The Best Man — Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.”
~ Gary Provost, author of 110 Ways to Improve Your Writing ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Writers Helping Writers always has great stuff. The post HERE on how to stay organized during a revision is great. 
Kristen Lamb has the best stuff on her blog. The post HERE is a guest post by Alex Limberg with three tips to create more real characters. 
Janice Hardy at Fiction University has an interesting post entitled Which Character is the Heart of Your Novel HERE. It might be a surprise to you. 

Last week I offered an ARC of Things That Make You Go, Yuck!: Crooked Critters by Jenni Dlugos and Charlie Hatton. This week’s winner, who always shares my link for extra chances, is Danielle Hammelef. Those extra chances pay off! Congratulations, Danielle. I will mail your book this week. For the rest of you, another giveaway. Please keep reading.

I had some good things happen recently I want to share. Last Monday, Sue Heavenrich posted an interview with MOI on Group Blog HERE about my experiences being a book reviewer. I have been included a few times on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes wonderful poetry blog, Today’s Little Ditty. Michelle put together an anthology of poems from her blog, and one of mine was included. Her book is The Best of Today’s Little Ditty, and you can see more about it HERE. Lastly, I received an email this week from Highlight’s Magazine and they are purchasing a poem of mine called “Sky Zoo.” I don’t know when it will be published, but you can be sure I will let you know. Very exciting for me!

On to this week’s subject. If you read the interview on Group Blog, you will see I read about 30 blogs a week. One of those I never miss is Greg Pattridge’s Always in the Middle (HERE) because Greg has such great reviews, and it often informs my decisions about what I will read. When I read about The Best Man by Richard Peck on Greg’s blog back in October, I checked with the San Francisco Book Review to see if I could get a review copy. I could, I did, and I loved it. Here is the review I wrote for them. 

When we meet Archer Magill, he is remembering a time he was five and suffering through an embarrassing incident at a wedding where he meets Lynette, new girl in town, who becomes his best friend. But the heart of the story takes place during Archer’s fifth-grade year. He has a close family and striking maturity allowing him to truly appreciate strong role models in his architect grandfather, car-restorer father, sophisticated uncle, and, most recently, first male teacher in the history of his school. All these men are heroic in their own ways, and all teach Archer lessons about loss and what love really means. The book ends with another wedding, more meaningful and less embarrassing for Archer.e bing in middle

“It was a little like being in middle school a year early.
You’re drop kicked into new territory. I was wondering
how much change you have to go through 
before your voice does.” 

Author Richard Peck is a great storyteller and has assembled a great group of well-realized characters who believably suffer through and overcome, for the

Richard Peck

most part, realistic problems. The story is told in first person narrative (with a couple of diversions to Lynnette’s point of view) in the voice of Archer. For the most part, it is a believable voice for a very mature fifth-grader. With important themes of anti-bullying, friendship, loss, and love, this is a winner.


I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don’t forget to check out Shannon Messenger’s wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

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