Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay
Published by Allen & Unwin
A refreshing perspective. A curious mind. A big imagination. A sense of wonder, and a little bit of magic. 'Any Questions?' explores the power of thought and an enchanting lesson in the process of creative writing, as narrated from the author's point of view.
Speech bubbles paired with the narration show us wonderful conversations between the children in the story and the writer. The author provides the blank page, and it is the kids who brainstorm the plot and characters in a 'snowstorm' story. Different coloured backgrounds lend themselves to various stories, too, including a blue shipwreck story or a midnight black horror story.
"Sometimes a story starts with words or ideas floating out of nowhere." Slowly but surely, spots and doodles become characters and ideas. But sometimes ideas don't fit, or even come at all. The author provides more insights into her creative process by painting and collaging and letting her mind wander.
The author then begins a story of a shy giant, and with some encouragement, the children are asked to innovate with their own ideas. The tale continues as a collaboration between teacher and students, until they reach the end...or do they?
And just as the title suggests, a myriad of questions are raised by the children to complete the book, with Marie-Louise Gay's thought-provoking and fascinating responses. My favourite, ''What inspired you to write this book?'' ''All your questions!''
Marie-Louise has an ability to capture an essence of magic through her pictures. You'll be enticed by her splashes of watercolours, excited by the drama created with bold pencil and ink drawings, engrossed in the handwritten parts, and absorbed in the detail, textures and adorable faces.
'Any Questions?' is a fresh view into the eyes and mind of a writer, with plenty of teachable moments for staging a story from the initial brainstorm through to playing with ideas and then crafting them into a story. Primary school children will certainly be empowered to write their own wondrous tales after reading this engaging and ingenious book.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author/Illustrator: Marie-Louise Gay
Title: Any Questions?
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: April 2015