"Write about something that is important to you," suggest Arthur's teacher, Mr. Ratburn (Page 1). And on the classroom blackboard, Mr. Ratburn has written the following directions:
"Write a story.
1. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
2. Use details.
3. Be creative."
There begins Arthur's exciting adventure in creative writing. He first begins with the story that HE wants to tell--"How I Got My Puppy Pal." However, as he speaks to others about his efforts, he is swayed by their suggestions and their ideas. He rewrites his story to include those items because he does not want to create a boring story that no one wants to hear or read. Consequently, his story grows away from his original message and into a wild collage of extraordinary elements that even includes Purple elephants, moon landscapes, song and dance. He presents his strange story to his family and to his shocked class, but he soon discovers, with a little guidance from Mr. Ratburn, that his original idea was the best story to tell after all. Why? His original story was from his own voice, mind, heart, and experience.
This is an excellent little book about a child's view of the writing process and the various influences on that process. The message is clear: it's fine to be your own writer and share your own ideas in your own personal way of expressing yourself. The best stories are those that have a ring of truth about them...where storyteller and story compliment each other.
This book makes a fun introduction to writing and to storytelling. It can encourage young writers to write their own stories with confidence. Even adult writing students can appreciate the books central message about "writing what you know."