Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Book of Story Beginnings

The other day I came across the blog of one of my newest favorite authors, Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of the Lost Cities. I posted about her book on this blog, in fact, just a few weeks ago. (Click here to read my comments.) As it turns out, she hosts a regular series on Mondays which she calls "MMGM", (Marvelous Middle Grade Monday), and she includes links to other bloggers who post about the Middle Grade fiction they're reading. So, since I've already been posting about the middle grade (and young adult) fiction I've been reading, I thought I'd join in the party and submit my link to Shannon for possible inclusion in her list.

This week's book:

The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup

Overall impressions: This was an enjoyable read with a very creative premise. The main character finds an ancient and magical book of story beginnings which causes events written in the book to come true. The beginning you write, however, could have a very unpredictable middle and end. The main characters of this adventure story find out how true that is as their entry launches them into a crazy adventure involving magic, time travel, and fairy-tale like themes. It's a fun ride from start to finish.

What I liked: I enjoyed the premise of this story, and the clever way the author wove in lessons of storytelling and novel writing, letting the characters themselves learn some of the fundamentals of a good story as they literally lived their own. It was so well done and so much fun.

What I learned: As I'm writing my own story about Sam, I sometimes struggle with how much realism to include in her reactions to the startling and magical things that happen to her. A real girl would probably be much more shocked and scared by magical doorways and strange creatures than my Sam is when it happens to her. I loved that this book showed characters encountering magical happenings without being completely thrown for a loop. They are certainly surprised and impressed, as you might imagine, but they also take it in stride in a way that allows the plot to move quickly forward. I may or may not yet have Sam reacting in quite the right way to her adventures, but this story feels encouraging, and freeing. It reminded me that it is okay to have a character take something in stride that might bamboozle a real person of our world.

You can find The Book of Story Beginnings on Amazon.

Well, I hope this has been a worthy addition to the MMGM tradition. And, since I've been posting about Middle Grade fiction for a while without knowing about MMGM, I went ahead and added an MMGM tag to those posts too so that they could be found by anyone interested in middle grade fiction. Click here for all my entries about middle grade fiction.

HAPPY MONDAY! And happy writing to all those children's writers out there!


  1. Hey and welcome! Glad you have joined our merry band and thanks for the review. Have not read this one...yet!

  2. Welcome! I love your analysis (and use of the word bamboozle to describe that's it's okay for characters to not react as a real person might).

  3. I love the premise and also what you learned as a writer from the book. I'm adding it to my list so I can check it out.
    Thanks for this lovely feature. :)

  4. This is going on my to be read list. Sounds like lots of fun.

    Don't have a MMGM this week myself, but I often join in as well.

  5. This book sounds delightful! The fact that the beginning might not match the middle or end is definitely intriguing! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to checking it out. :)