Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories

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9780756967239: Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories
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Though Richard Peck is best known as a novelist, he has been writing praised and popular short stories throughout his career. His first, "Priscilla and the Wimps," is perhaps the most-read children's short story of all time. Others have inspired his award-winning novels: "A Long Way from Chicago and "A Year Down Yonder began with a story called "Shotgun Cheatham's Last Night Above Ground"; and "The Electric Summer" was the jumping point for "Fair Weather. Now here are thirteen of Richard Peck's stories, including all of his previously published tales and two brand-new ones. He has also written entertaining notes about the stories, an informative introduction about the genre, and tips on how to write short stories, including "Five Helpful Hints" that will be a valuable aid to aspiring authors.

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Review:

In Past Perfect, Present Tense, Newbery award winning author Richard Peck ruminates on the finer points of short story writing in concise but curmudgeonly prose. Peck provides introductory notes for each of four sections; "The First" explores his well-known early work "Priscilla and the Wimps;" "The Past" includes Peck's historical shorts; "The Supernatural" is a collection of four well-crafted ghost stories; and "The Present" showcases Peck's more recent contemporary fare. Peck rounds out the four sections of stories with two brief chapters of writing advice that speak to the reader with the clarity of personal experience. Notable excerpts include: "You have to read a thousand stories before you can write one;" and "The only writing is rewriting, and I write each of my...stories six times because I can't get them well-wrapped in the first five tries."

Peck never condescends to his audience of aspiring young writers. Instead, his tone will remind readers of their very favorite English teacher, the one that respected and encouraged their clumsy first endeavors. Peck is, and has always been, the standard against which other Young Adult authors have been measured, and any aspiring teen writer would do well to study the pages of Past Perfect, Present Tense before embarking on their first piece of fiction. (Ages 10 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

About the Author:

Richard Peck has written more than thirty novels, and in the process has become one of the country’s most highly respected writers for children. In fact The Washington Post called him America’s best living author for young adults.” A versatile writer, he is beloved by middle-graders as well as young adults for his historical and contemporary comedies and coming-of-age novels. He lives in New York City, and spends a great deal of time traveling around the country to speaking engagements at conferences, schools, and libraries.

Mr. Peck is the first children’s book author to have received a National Humanities Medal. He is a Newbery Medal winner (for A Year Down Yonder), a Newbery Honor winner (for A Long Way from Chicago), a two-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Edgar Award winner. In addition, he has won a number of major honors for the body of his work, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the ALAN Award, and the Medallion from the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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