Monday, October 19, 2015

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou

I was only a few pages into this book when I suddenly thought - Exquisite Corpse??? There's a book in this story that is acting like Exquisite Corpse?  Hey! I bet Lisa Papademetriou had Sharon Darrow for one of her workshops at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Writing for Children and Young Adults.  (Because Sharon Darrow also ran one of my workshops where we spent part of the time working on a group Exquisite Corpse.)

What is Exquisite Corpse?
It's where someone begins a story, writes several sentences or even a paragraph, then folds back all but the last sentence of their writing and passes it along to the next person to continue the story - without knowing what the first person had written.  (The person who passed the group story to me had drawn a monster, then folded it back until all I could see was the feet of the monster, which made it quite difficult for me to figure out how to add to the story. But I managed. Mostly because I had seen him doing the drawing out of the corner of my eye.)

What if you found a book that at first looked like it had all blank pages, but when you decided to use it to write your journal opened it, you discovered someone else had already begun writing in it.

Now, what if there are TWO such books, with the story appearing in both of them.  And, no matter what you or the other girl wrote, the book merged your writing into the story it was telling.

Here's the publisher's description:

Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. 
For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila's copy on the other side of the planet. Kai's words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.
A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.
There are many 5-Star reviews of this on Goodreads, plus a flood of excellent reviews in the national review media.

Here's a link to a great review of this book on ReaderKidZ blog.

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