Any questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760113179
(Age: 6+) Writing, Imagination. The process of writing is given a wildly funny and unusual outing in this heavily illustrated book by Canadian author, Marie-Louise Gay. She tells of the amazing range of questions asked by a class of children, and leads them through the process of writing a book. From the blank page she adds colour and characters, asking the children for their ideas and suggestions. Each suggestion leads to a page of illustrations suggesting a story, so the white paper and the questions about polar bears may lead to a story of a polar bear in a snowstorm, or the purple paper may lead the children in another direction entirely. The colour of the paper is important in pushing ideas forward. From there different ways of adding words to the paper are exposed. Some write down a series of words, some phrases, these are added to the paper as ideas spawn and the story develops. Illustrations fill the pages adding to the excitement of the developing story as Gay encourages children to write.
This colour filled picture book encourages teachers and students to write, giving them a scaffold to do it, while being an entertaining read as well. The story which this class develops is told at the end with all the additions by each child involved. As a model for use in the classroom, it has merit, and may encourage members in the classroom to try their hand at writing.
Fran Knight