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Little Red Writing

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  1,417 Ratings  ·  293 Reviews
Acclaimed writer Joan Holub and Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet team up in this hilarious and exuberant retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which a brave, little red pencil finds her way through the many perils of writing a story, faces a ravenous pencil sharpener (the Wolf 3000)... and saves the day.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Chronicle Books (first published June 1st 2013)
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Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
I'm going to wax a little less enthusiastic than some of the other reviewers. And the basic reason is that this book, with all it's great features, isn't all that intrinsically exciting.

The colors and all the visual aspects of the book are outstanding. It's VERY visually appealing.

LITTLE RED WRITING though is too focused on education, and so the story proceeds haltingly. To give you an example, at one point Little Red squeezes a bottle, and "Too many glue words came out. So that is how she found
I was not expecting this book to be much more than the usual run-of-the-mill picture book, but it surprised me. Oh, what a delightful surprise it was.

The book is, essentially, about writing, words, and the mechanics of a story — and any book that has the disclaimer "This book does not condone the use of explosives for any purpose other than the purely fictional" on its copyright page* and uses the words 'tenebrous,' 'sylvan,' and 'verdant' is sure to be a frolic. There are numerous clever plays
The Library Lady
Nov 09, 2013 The Library Lady rated it it was ok
I get the point here (sorry,couldn't resist), but I just don't think this is as good as it is getting hyped to be. Too much going on--it's like trying to read a book written and illustrated by someone with severe ADHD.

Glad that teachers think it has classroom potential, but just not my thing. But then I don't like writing with pencils--they remind me of math class......
Joan Holub
Jul 09, 2013 Joan Holub rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi, my name is LITTLE RED WRITING. I am a picture book published by Chronicle Books in October 2013. Melissa Sweet illustrated me. Joan Holub wrote me.
Joyce Yattoni
Mar 11, 2017 Joyce Yattoni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a cute picture book, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The characters are all pencils as "Little Red Writing" carefully journeys through the writing of a story she is working on. Clever types of words that aid the writer in story telling are dispersed throughout and the author explains their role: noun, adjective, conjunction, verb. Quick story to use when kicking off narrative writing or before a lesson on word choice.
Oct 30, 2013 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
Little Red Writing is a clever and whimsical picture book by the prolific author Joan Holub and the very talented illustrator, Melissa Sweet. In a parody of "Little Red Riding Hood", this story introduces us to a classroom of adorable pencils who are tasked by their teacher (Ms. 2, lol) to write a story - any story. Little Red sets off, determined to write an "exciting" story and soon finds herself learning first hand about the importance of different parts of speech such as nouns, adjectives, a ...more
Jul 22, 2013 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a fresh version of Little Red Riding Hood. Here Little Red is a pencil and her assignment in school is to write a story, even though it can be quite dangerous. Her teacher gives her a basket of words to use in case of an emergency, but also warns her to stick to her basic story so that she doesn’t get lost. Little Red starts writing but soon tries to add more excitement to her story. Before she knows it, she has bounced right off of the page and into a forest. It’s a forest full of descr ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Cheryl rated it did not like it
Over-rated. Just too much going on, too hard to see everything that was going on, all of which was indicated to be as important as everything else. Talk about not "sticking to the story path!" And it's always been one of my pet peeves when teachers tell kids that stories have to follow a certain path, anyway. If Ms. 2 decrees a story has a particular set of 4 stages, why do Shakespeare's plays have 5 acts? And since when is Ms spelled with a period, as if it's an abbreviation??

Sorry, it's not a
Disclaimer: I won a signed copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, but that fact does not influence the true review below.

I had read good things about Little Red Writing, so I was excited to hear that I had won the giveaway. When the book arrived, I opened the package with excitement. I didn't know what I would find - I was ready to enjoy it and then pass it along to a primary colleague, if need be. I am glad to say, Little Red will be finding a permanent place in my fifth grade c
Readers, young and old, will be hard pressed to keep a straight face while enjoying this humorous take-off on "Little Red Riding Hood." It features a teacher named Ms. 2 and her band of eager pencil writers, most notably Little Red. Armed with a basket of nouns, the red pencil begins to write a story. She ends up distracted by adjectives in "a deep, dark, descriptive forest" (unpaged)and then is overwhelmed by the conjunctions provided by Conjunction Glue, causing her to create quite a run-on se ...more
Jul 18, 2013 Shauna rated it it was amazing
What a CLEVER, CLEVER story!

Can be read purely for entertainment!

But can also be read to teach listening skills and/or help with writing skills.

For you see...

Once upon a time there was a pencil school....

and Ms. 2, the teacher assigned the students to write a story....

Little Red (the red pencil) wanted her story to be a journey through the school.

She had a basket of 15 red word to use, if needed.

So she began...

Read this fun story to find out what happens to Red when she finds herself in the deep
Sep 26, 2014 Jan rated it liked it
This is a "picture book" done graphic novel-style, about a red pencil who struggles with the details of how to write a story. Included are lessons on verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions.

I picked up this book thinking it was a picture book because of its large format, and therefore was a bit disoriented when I realized that the subject matter was better suited to 3rd and 4th graders. But would an 8- or 9-year-old want to read a book that looks like it was made for a preschooler? On the o
Aug 09, 2014 Jocelin rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
I thought the premise of this book was cute, but as I continued to read on, I was a little bored with it. The concept of Little Red Riding (Writing) being a pencil and creating her our story does seem like a page turner, but I quickly became bored with the idea.
The book seemed a little all over the place in the beginning and then the story settled in towards the end. I think that children will be a little antsy with this one becomes it is about the writing process. This is a cool book for an adu
Jan 07, 2014 Kifflie rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" that is also a helpful lesson in teaching kids how to write their own stories. Little Red is a pencil, trying to write a good adventure story. She gets bogged down in the "descriptive forest" and her organized story starts to get a little wild when she notices a strange growling creature, who eventually ends up impersonating "Principal Granny." Little Red will have to use her wits (and her words) to save the day.

Lots of interesting illustrative detail here
Jul 28, 2015 Emma rated it liked it
This was a little difficult to read because of the layout of the words with the illustrations and because I kept getting distracted by the punny illustrations (the sewing club sewing pencil skirts?? HA!). Even though it parodies the story of Little Red Riding Hood, there wasn't much plot to it. Instead, the charm is in how Holub uses the different parts of speech in the story and the illustrations that match. I'm going to see if I can use it for teaching about word choice.
Oct 13, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, picture, 2013
In a beautifully illustrated fractured fairy tale, Little Red, a red pencil, explores the school. She learns to write along the way, finally facing down the Wolf3000 pencil sharpener to save Principal Granny. Super fun, sweet, and delightful. Recommended for students in grades 3 - 5 to introduce creative writing, editing, or the process of using different parts of speech.

A bit of a fractured folktale, this book cleverly uses the story of Little Red Riding Hood to introduce and demonstrate parts of speech and the writing process. It's a funny and engaging read and could be used in a school-age story time. I highly recommend this book!
Carrie Gelson
Love Sweet's illustrations. I appreciate the story but don't love it. Can see it being great for mini lessons to do with writing but does the story stand on its own as just a great read? Not sure.
A clever update of Little Red Riding Hood filled with wordplay, grammar tips, and a pro-writing message. Destined to be a classroom classic.
Richie Partington
May 09, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet, ill. Chronicle, October 2013, 36p., ISBN: 978-0-8118-7869-2

"All of your comments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks"
-- Elvis Costello, "Everyday I Write the Book"

"Little Red knocked on the door.
"'Come in,' said a growly voice.
"'Greetings, Little Pencil. Grrreat to see you,' said Principal Granny.
"Little Red was suspicious. 'I'd like to report hearing a growly voice. And you know what? It sounded kind
Full review at:

I really think these wonderful woman created this book for just for teachers. It is a perfect, perfect, perfect book for a read aloud AND for a mentor text!

First, the book is a direct allusion to Red Riding Hood and is a great book to throw into the mix when looking at different versions of Red Riding Hood. I can just picture this book, with a version of the original story, Hoodwinked the movie, and Lon Po Po. Wow! What great discussions an
Hannah Rich
When I picked up "Little Red Writing," the first thing that I could think of was the picture book, "The Day the Crayons Quit," by Drew Daywalt. In "Little Red Writing," a red pencil named, Little Red, has been told by her teacher that she must write a story. Throughout this picture book Little Red has the opportunity to learn about action words [verbs], describing words [adjectives], adverbs, nouns, run-on sentences, etc! She is not only learning how to write a well-developed story, but so is th ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Kendall rated it it was amazing
Holub, J. (2013). Little Red Writing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

Additional Information: Primary (K-3)

Summary: Little Red the pencil is writing an adventure story for class. But while she tries to stick to the story path, she encounters an adventure of her own! Will Little Red be able to finish her story and save the day?

Notable Awards/Reviews: Booklist 09/15/13 (Vol. 110, No. 2), Library Media Connection 03/01/14, Horn Book 01/01/14, Publishers Weekly starred 09/09/13, Horn Book 04/01/
Jul 13, 2013 Angelc rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-own-read
This is such a fun picture book! There is so much to see and read on every page. It doesn't follow the typical picture book format. I think kids will really love reading this, since it is so interactive with all the things to see on each page.

The story is a retelling of Red Riding Hood, from an all new perspective. Red herself is now a number 2 pencil going to school, and the wolf is an evil pencil sharpener that has captured Principal Granny! Red has a basket packed with words. She uses differe
Keri Douglas
Jul 26, 2014 Keri Douglas rated it really liked it
Holub, J. (2013). Little red writing. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Little Red Writing is a pencil student who has been given an assignment to write a story, a basket of nouns, and told to stick to the story path. Little does she know as she navigates Pencilvania school that she will encounter a verb-filled gym, an adjective jungle path, and conjunction glue for a giant run-on sentence. The big bad wolf, Wolf 3000, is actually a giant pencil sharpener who sharpened Principal Granny to smitheree
Nov 17, 2013 Glenda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Clever retelling of the classic children's story that is full of puns and advice to writers.

Update: 1-6-14

When I first read LRW, I gave it **** of 5 stars. Today I used the book in my speech classes as an example of oral interpretation. I "performed" the book as an example of interpretive children's storytelling in two classes. Students laughed and became excited about the assignment. They particularly enjoyed Principal Granny's experience w/ the pencil sharpener and the onomatopoeic language.

Kristen Badger
Jul 26, 2014 Kristen Badger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: schl-5200, primary
Holub, J., Sweet, M. (2013). Little Red Writing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle.

This adorable picture book, told from the point of view of a pencil, teaches young writers useful writing tips.

Teachers should use this story to teach about writing and parts of speech. The story would work well with writing units for primary students. This story could also be used to teach about different versions of stories if the teacher were to read it with the original Little Red Riding Hood. This story would al
Sandra Stiles
Jan 25, 2014 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, writing
This is a cute story of a red pencil who is challenged to write a story. But, this is not just a cute story. There is so much to learn throughout this book. When Mrs. 2 tells her class they are going to write a story she has the writing "story path" on the board. Little red is given a basket of useful words as she goes off on her writing journey. The book demonstrates the importance of using vivid words to spice up your story We learn how too many adjectives ca bog your writing down. Run-on sent ...more
May 08, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: librarians and teachers for storytimes
I just loved this book! It was so creative, played with words in such a fun way and of course Sweet's illustrations are wonderful! A pencil named Little Red Writing is in her classroom is writing a story ( you can probably guess on what popular fairy tale!) and gets very involved in her story, to where she is in the story! She has adventures and then hears some growling and ends up facing the villain! No, I'm not telling you who, that is the whole climax (and joke) of the story!) A pencil named ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A creative re-telling of a popular fairy-tale, Holub’s Little Red Writing uses vivid pictures and an enticing story to teach children grammar. Ms. 2 asks her class to write a story, and Little Red Pencil decides to write about a brave journey. She adds exciting verbs, gets bogged down by adjectives, and gets saved by adverbs! When she hears a loud “GRRRRRRRRRRRRRG”, Little Red realizes that some things are not as they seem to be, turning her journey into a truly courageous tale! Using mixed-medi ...more
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cutie 1 7 Aug 18, 2013 11:06PM  
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Children's book author:
TOOL SCHOOL; MIGHTY DADS (a NY Times bestseller); LITTLE RED WRITING; the GODDESS GIRLS series (with Suzanne Williams); THIS LITTLE PRESIDENT, A Presidential Primer; ZERO THE HERO. Lucky to be doing what I love.
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