Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Behind the Books: Voice Choice 2

Here’s a little game to get a stronger sense of voice in nonfiction writing. One of the books below has a fun, joyful voice. The other has a conversational, confessional voice. Which is which?
When the first fossil bones of Iguanodon were found, one was shaped like a rhino’s horn. Scientists guessed that the strange bone fit like a spike on Iguanodon’s nose.

Boy, were we wrong about Iguanodon! When a full set of bones was found later, there were two pointed bones. They were part of Iguanodon’s hands, not its nose!

Fourteen thousand years ago
the north was mostly ice and snow.
But woolly mammoths didn’t care—
these beasts had comfy coats of hair.

Fuzzy, shaggy, snarly, snaggy,
Wonderful woolly mammoths!

What elements give each piece their distinct voice?  

Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs by Kathleen Kudlinski actually contains a confession and the author’s clear, and strong but informal voice seems to be speaking directly to the reader.

The rhyme, rhythm, and fun word choice of Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler will make any reader smile. It never ceases to amaze me that the author could maintain this scheme throughout the book AND convey tons of great information about the prehistoric creatures.


  1. I remember being amazed that the rhymes worked, too.

  2. Both great books. I love how Kathleen says "boy were we wrong!" It totally involves reader in the science process. And I always love reading Lisa's books... and Mammoths was fun. I am amazed at how she can put so much info into rhyme. What a gift. I see both books as being "fun" because both have more playful voice than typical informational books.