This is a Good Story written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Magali Le Huche is a marvelous picture book introduction to how to write a story for 5-8 year olds. It inventively reveals all the parts necessary to make a good story: the main character or hero and heroine, the setting or where the story happens, the conflict or the problem that must be solved, the plot or the series of actions that move the story forward and the climax or exciting ending.
A gentle voice from perhaps a teacher-narrator takes a little girl through the parts of a story as she begins to draw a storyboard for her good story. The little girl’s first picture is of a hero. But wait, the second picture is of a heroine. Why not both asks the narrator as the little girl decides to start again and draws both the hero and the heroine ready for action with swords drawn and capes flying.
Next, the young artist draws a picture of the hero and heroine in the setting. It is a happy picture of children on bikes and scooters, dogs barking, rabbits playing, birds flying and the sun shining.
Quoting the narrator: “As with any Good Story, ours has a CONFLICT, a problem that needs fixing. And it is a good thing, too, because without conflict there would be no PLOT.” This gentle side coaching from the narrator gives the young girl and will give the young reader an understanding of just how a good story is constructed. The illustrations are delightful, energetic and full of details. Especially attractive are the pictures of the conflict, the Evil Overlord. The little girl’s first drawing of this fellow is not evil enough to pose a conflict coaches the narrator. Her second version, however, shows him to be a big bully with red nose snorting, teeth open for chomping and angry eyes flashing.
This is a Good Story written cleverly by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated
delightfully by Magali Le Huche is a perfect book for teaching how to write a good story (A Paula Wiseman Book/ Simon and Schuster, 2017).
Questions for This is a Good Story
What is one of your favorite stories that you have read or heard read recently? It could be a fairytale or a story about talking animals or an adventure story set in a faraway land. Think about the way your favorite story unfolds and try to locate the elements that make it a good story such as the hero/heroine, the setting, the conflict, the plot and the climax. Look at the friendly list in the back of the book.
Turn to the illustration where the townspeople cheer as the young artist draws a chain around the captured Evil Overlord and hangs a sign on him that says No Escape. Do you think this is really the end of the story? Why is the girl smiling in the last picture? Who is cutting the chains off the Evil Overlord? What do you think could possibly happen next? Make up a new ending for this story based on the last picture. Use your imagination. Anything goes!
The Evil Overlord in this story when first drawn by the girl was not very scary. Her second try was much better. What would your very scary Evil Overlord have looked like? Draw a picture of your very scary Evil Overlord. Remember this can be a picture of an evil man or an evil woman or an evil animal or an evil machine. Have fun!