"Who Done It?" is Jon Scieszka's anthology of alibis written by some very famous children's and young adult authors. Mo Willems contributed, as did Lemony Snicket and David Levithan. To be precise, more than 80 (not so precise, after all) authors wrote short pieces for this collection.
The story? An evil editor is murdered, and those authors who had been invited by to a party at an abandoned pickle factory by this misanthrope, Herman Q. Mildew, are suspects. Because all the suspects are writers, they are invited to write their alibis.
The results are wonderful and fun to read. Included in these pages is some fabulous description, lots and lots of creativity, and stories that young adults will love. The more disgusting, the more teens love it. This anthology is filled with enough revolting material to keep even the pickiest teen happy for hours.
Scieszka describes Mildew: "He was mean, arrogant, loud, large, obnoxious, cruel to small furry animals, delusional, thoughtless, difficult, vulgar, negative, likely to take the last sip of orange juice and then put the empty carton back in the refrigerator, intolerant, sneaky, greedy, fond of toenail clippings and strong cheeses, hugely entertained by the misfortune of others, hateful, quick to anger, unforgiving, mean, gaseous, paranoid, belligerent, unreasonable, demanding, smelly, near-sighted...in short: an editor."
A favorite response is David Levithan's alibi in the form of a tribute (or roast) of William Carlos William's poem "This Is Just to Say."
“herman mildew ate
that were in
and I was pissed...”
and he ends it with:
“but the poet
has the advantage
over the murderer;
the poet can kill
a thousand times
in a thousand
in a thousand different poems
without any weapon
beyond a pen
is not nearly
Another clever entry is by Micol Ostow and is in the form of a "Mad-Lib" alibi. The results are fabulous and perfect for teachers to use as a tool to teach writing.
Teachers, pick a few authors whose works you want to read to the students (I would never suggest copying them for fear of violating copyright laws). Make sure to read the introduction by Scieszka as well. Then have the students write their own alibis.
They can use other poets (Robert Frost, for example) if they want to present their alibis in the form of a poem. One of the authors drew a cartoon, another presented a "Twitter" alibi. All are different and all are creative. Encourage your students to be creative.
I'm looking forward to the results.
The book was written to raise money for 826NYC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Soho Teen, for review purposes.
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