Recipe for a Story by Ella Burfoot

Published by MacMillan (ISBN: 978-0230753020)

Told in rhyme, this delightful book shares the right ingredients for creating a story.

Although this book is in itself a lovely story, it offers so much more. First, it conveys a sense of excitement and joy about writing. The little girl’s enthusiasm and care come through as she chooses her words and cuts out her characters ‘to make my story a delicious read.’ 

The book obviously lends itself beautifully to developing ideas about creating stories- thoughts, characters, plot, punctuation. Each element is added to the final mix, including leaving it for a while for ideas to develop- Now I’ll put a lid on it. Wait a while. Let it sit. It’s not until I roll it out That I’ll find out what it’s all about. All of this can be discussed and explored in a range of contexts.

Exploring words is an important element of the story. From a bag of ‘mixed words’ the little girl weighs out just enough of the ‘right’ ones, small and big. This balance of choosing the right word is developed by the story offering a way into exploring synonyms. It looks at ‘watery words’ and shows containers of ‘Sad Words’, ‘Peaceful, Sunny Words’ and so on. Children could make their own collections/ mini thesauruses/ displays etc. This would lead into the playing with words and making choices that is so important, but for many children who have limited vocabularies, so difficult. 

All of this is supported by delightful illustrations which draw on familiar stories and the recipe theme. The bright, colourful pictures are full of humour and detail to be explored. The recipe analogy can be used to remind children of story elements, but also to stimulate the imagination and explore variety as everyone adds their own ingredients to the mix.

Does this have the ingredients for the perfect book? I think so!