Lemony Snicket’s 13 Words Writing Activity

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You know Lemony Snicket (aka. Daniel Handler) from his Series of Unfortunate Events. And, if you’ve read that series, you’ll be amply prepared for his new, zany picture book, 13 Words, with painted illustrations from the fabulous, Maira Kalman.

Imagine for a minute that you come upon thirteen words – any old thirteen. And then you make up a story using all thirteen words. That’s about the gist of Snicket’s 13 Words picture book. It’s  13 words woven into a loosely-sensible plot. And, I happen to think it’s fantastic.

The paintings illustrating each page pop out with bold colors. Visually, you’ll stop to absorb the images, details, and point of view.

I think 13 Words a GREAT book to use as to teach writing to young writers. Think of the possibilities — kids find their own 13 words and create a story. Kids use Snicket’s 13 words, reorder them, and make-up a new story. Or, you could notice word choice in a story . . . this book would be the perfect picture book to use. What other writing could be inspired from this book? Teachers? Writers? Thoughts?

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for . . .

The Thirteen Words:

1. Bird
2. Despondent
3. Cake
4. Dog
5. Busy
6. Convertible
7. Goat
8. Hat
9. Haberdashery
10. Scarlet
11. Baby
12. Panache
13. Mezzo-Soprano


Here’s a bit of what you can expect:

Word Number 6: Convertible

Outside is a glamorous green convertible

ready to take the dog into town.

Word Number 7: Goat

The driver of the convertible is a goat.

He is wearing a spiffy jacket.

13 Words Writing Activity

See if this book trailers helps you get even more of a sense of this book.

Book Trailer for 13 Words.

Really, 13 Words is to picture books as Monty Python is to movies.

COMMENT BELOW to win a copy of 13 Words!

Three winners will be selected!!!

Contest will end February 27, 2011. Winners will be selected at random.

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48 Responses

  1. This book looks really neat! My students would love it!

  2. I took the survey, and would love to win this book,

  3. My son would love this one.
    rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOT)com

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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