This collection of super-short stories, ranging from silly to downright chilling, stuck with me long after reading. Each unique snippet is paired with its own beautiful artwork by 1 of 21 different illustrators from all across the world. Every tale was absolutely enthralling and would make a fabulous story by itself, but my favorite part was the writing prompts at the end of the book that encourage kids to expand the snippets and make them their own.
UK Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho presents twenty tiny tales—each one illustrated by a different artist, and each just ten words long—in a book that’s as much a work of art as an invitation to budding writers.
“Invite me in,” she says, outside my tenth-story window. Is it possible to spin a tale using just ten words? In this magnificent compendium, author and poet Joseph Coelho proves that it is—with mini-stories of underwater worlds, demon hamsters, bears in outer space, and portals to places unknown. From charming to creepy, fantastical to mysterious, each tale is paired with an outstanding illustrator, and together words and pictures inspire creativity as young readers are prompted to continue the story. Prefaced with a note from the author and offering two writing challenges at the end, this is an ideal gift for anyone ready to unleash their imagination.
With artwork from: Alex T. Smith * Camilla Sucre * Chuck Groenink * Daishu Ma * Dapo Adeola * Dena Seiferling * Flavia Z. Drago * Freya Hartas * Helen Stephens * Julia Sarda * Katie May Green * Karl James Mountford * Maja Kastelic * Mariachiara Di Giorgio * Nahid Kazemi * Raissa Figueroa * Reggie Brown * Shaun Tan * Thea Lu * Yas Imamura * Yoko Tanaka
About the Author
Joseph Coelho, selected as UK Children’s Laureate in 2022, is an award-winning poet, playwright, and children’s book author. His first poetry collection, Werewolf Club Rules,won the CLPE Poetry Award in 2015. His picture books include If All the World Were . . . , illustrated by Allison Colpoys, and Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers. He is also the author of the Fairy Tales Gone Bad trilogy, illustrated by Freya Hartas. Originally from London, Joseph Coelho now lives in Folkestone, England. Follow him on Twitter @Poetryjoe and on Instagram @josephcoelhoauthor.
A global roster of 21 distinguished illustrators contributes imagery for Coelho’s cryptic 10-word stories. Invoking multiple dimensions in his notes to readers and the tales themselves, Coelho invites illustrators to consider interplanetary space, undersea caverns, and realms between. . . . Twisty, playful fun. —Kirkus Reviews
Each tale is thought-provoking and guaranteed to elicit questions and debate. An afterword encourages readers to illustrate and expand a tiny tale, offering additional prompts and questions to help would-be writers tap into their creativity. . . this will engage sophisticated readers and be welcomed by creative writing classes. —Booklist
Laughter, puzzlement, shivers—10-word morsels from U.K. children’s laureate Coelho, each illustrated by contemporary artists including Raissa Figueroa, Júlia Sardà, and Shaun Tan, evoke a startling panoply of thoughts and feelings. . . . Various artist contributors take different tacks in visualizing the lines, many developing the concepts. . . . Front and back matter detail the book’s beginnings and suggest using the tales as writing prompts, inviting readers to expand, create, and let their pens and imaginations soar. —Publishers Weekly
In an exercise destined to end up in language arts classes, author Coelho teams up with twenty-one artists to create ten-word short stories. . . . There’s really not a dud in the bunch; from humorous to scary to melancholy, there’s something here for everyone, meaning readers of all sorts can follow Coelho’s writing tips in the front and backmatter to create and expand upon their own tiny tales. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Illustrated by twenty-one accomplished artists from around the globe, each of the twenty “tiny tales” gives the reader just enough in word and picture to generate curiosity and discussion. . . this is a book for older children to pore over and let their imaginations flower. With twenty-one different illustrators representing many styles, media, and settings, each of the spreads stands apart so viewers can concentrate on a single page or read the book through for a disquieting experience. —The Horn Book
Mr. Coelho’s sentences have an eerie quality that is likely to please children ages 7-10, though most of the artwork steers clear of anything downright ominous. The exception, and by far the book’s most striking piece of artwork, is a painting by Shaun Tan himself, made to accompany the line: ‘Every year they honored their son by decorating his skull.' . . . It is an arresting scene—and, as Mr. Coelho will have hoped, almost impossible to regard without wanting to make up a story of one’s own. —The Wall Street Journal
The subtitle of this slender volume by U.K. Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho says it all: ‘To Inspire and Unsettle.’ Gorgeously illustrated by 21 artists, these 10-word snippets of stories are strange, eerie, evocative and absolutely enchanting. The book is a provocation to young (and old) writers and artists, an invitation to take the seed of an idea and let it bloom into something beautiful and new. Anyone who reads it will come away with some favorites. —The Virginian Pilot
One of my favorites of 2023! Poet Laureate Coelho created a bunch of spine-tingling stories using just words and I am so here for it. . . . Working with educators, however, leads me to my favorite parts about this book: it will inspire young creators to imagine their own stories, illustrate one of the tiny tales in their own style, or take a tiny tale and grow it. —Lorie Barber, Anderson’s Bookshop