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This is one for anyone who has had an idea for a story but has done nothing further with it.

51yrJLA79lLSozia had an idea. In fact she had hundreds…

The only trouble is that Sozi doesn’t do anything with these ideas, preferring to put it off until tomorrow. And so the ideas start to slip away until her inspiration runs out. Luckily a passer by gives her some direction – books! So Sozi begins writing her own story, not knowing what will happen either to the story or to her.

Yet even after she finished the start and worked till half past the middle she still didn’t know what’d be at THE END and if she’d have to begin again.

She recognises the end when it comes. She completes her story and Her Idea finishes with her going inside this story.

Now. As someone who teaches creative writing I think this is rather fabulous. So many of my students are cursed with Procrastinationitis. And then when they do start writing something it is very hard for them to finish it. Allowing yourself time to write, being brave about the unknown journey and then sensing when something is completing – these are all difficult things. A lot of grown ups who want to write stories should take the time to read this.

There is some clever stuff going on here too. The protagonist becoming part of your own story? This could be referred to in an undergraduate essay on metafiction.

But ALSO – and very importantly – this is a good story for kids! My kids liked Sozi very much and my son in particular related to her putting things off until later – a great Putter Offer, that one. He loved seeing the reward Sozi gets for getting on with things – disappearing into a story of her own creation.

I would expect a Flying Eye book to be distinct and this is very much a Flying Eye Book. It is a longer book at 56 pages and the drawings are in red, turqoise, dark blue, black and white. Incredibly striking, quirky and imaginative. The front and the back over have a cut out too so you can look inside Sozi’s head on one side and see a balloon on the other.

My only issue is with the rhyming text. The illustrations are so interesting and flow so you want to pause and go back. But a rhyming text demands that you drive the story on. What I have found myself doing is reading the text all the way through and then going back and reading the pictures in the same way. A more fluid and relaxed prose would have been preferable for me so that I could enjoy the pictures more.

An interesting reflection on writing. A fun book. And one that will appeal to both adults and children. I am pleased that Rilla herself got disciplined and made a finished story out of an idea.