Old Books. New Stories.

When my sister started painting, she asked a whole lot of people how to start.  The best advice she got was to go to a thrift store and buy a whole lot of cheap art… then paint over top of it.  The rationale: a blank page is a very hard starting point.  If someone else gives you a starting point, you’re free of writer’s… errr…  painter’s block.

Maybe that’s why I like Battle Bunny so much.

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In their new book, Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers have taken what appears to be a very lame book and transformed it into a hilarious adventure.  The whole premise is that a young boy, Alex, has gotten a book, “Birthday Bunny”, from his Gran Gran.  The Scieszka, Barnette, Myers book is “Birthday Bunny" after Alex has changed the story.

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Reading the book actually got me thinking about ways that we can love old books.  Instead of turning them into things other than books, why not pull an Alex and turn old books into new stories?  I can imagine amazing lessons in editing, audience, purpose (re-purposing?) and storytelling.  I can also imagine all of the sparked discovery that could emerge from looking through old books and re-imagining them as new stories.

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