Do you know a young reader who is deep into one type of literature say, science fiction and devours great quantities of that one genre? Or how about the reader who nibbles at all types of literature but, like a novice at a Chinese buffet, knows neither the name of what's being tasted nor the ingredients that go into producing such flavor? Well, Sandy Asher has pulled together the perfect guidebook for just such readers.
Asher's But That's Another Story: Favorite Authors Introduce Popular Genres provides an overview of ten genres, each with its own explanation and accompanying short story. The book covers the major genres from humor and adventure to suspense and science fiction, with a dash of contemporary realism and time-travel fantasy not usually found in such a collection. While each story provides readers with a fine first taste of a particular type of literature, the stories also combine unusual elements, like the Deaf narrator in Flying Away, a story that follows a quirky family through a move from Hopeville to George, a move only the narrator seems to understand. Such elements are sure to have readers curious about the people who wrote the stories. To satiate that curiosity, at the end of each story Asher includes a brief Meet the Author biography and thorough list of the author's additional works. But most tantalizing to young readers will be the discussion between Asher and each author about the included story. For instance, Barbara Robinson tells Asher that Alligator Mystique evolved from her family being too embarrassed to let her talk to someone dressed in an alligator suit at a restaurant. So, as Robinson puts it, she had to write the story to get some answers. And, to be sure, readers will get some answers from reading But That's Another Story. They'll learn about different types of literature; they'll learn the elements of each genre and have read a hardy example of each. But even better their appetites will have been whetted and they will want to read more.
Jamie Whitfield has taught literature and English for nearly 20 years.