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The Exquisite Corpse Adventure by National…
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The Exquisite Corpse Adventure

by National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

Other authors: Jack Gantos (Contributor), Steven Kellogg (Contributor)

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Showing 5 of 5
A completely bizarre and somewhat disjointed account of the adventures of Nancy and Joe, twins left at the circus as babies when their parents open a portal into another dimension, as they search for the pieces of the exquisite corpse robot that will help them to rescue their parents. A modern-day take on the Victorian parlor game, the Exquisite Corpse is written by some of the best-known children's authors writing today. Not my favorite book, but an entertaining read.
  LibraryGirl11 | Feb 24, 2012 |
Reason for Reading: I read a book like this a long time ago when the great mystery writers got together, including Agatha Christie, and did the same thing. This sounded like it would be a lot of fun.

Sixteen different top children's authors played a game where they each wrote the next chapter of an ongoing middle grade adventure story. The book is also illustrated in the same way by five different illustrators. With 27 chapters this has some of our authors writing two chapters while others only write once. John Scieszka starts things off with a wild premise giving the book a plot and many possible scenarios that may possibly happen. Each author was to read the book written so far when they received it and add on the next chapter. It is hilarious seeing how the authors manage to bring the elements together, while using their own unique writing styles. This makes for an adventure-filled plot and each chapter ends in either a cliffhanger or an unknown moment. It had the feeling of one of those old serials they used to play before the main movie back in the old b/w days. Never a dull moment as the authors played with elements that other authors started and managed to keep running jokes going.

The story involves twins Joe and Nancy who have been raised at the circus since infants. On there 11th birthday they discover their parents are alive but trapped in another dimension and they must rescue them by finding the scattered pieces of a robot and reassembling it so it can open the door to said dimension. All this must happen before weird alien creatures from *another* dimension take over the bodies and control of Joe and Nancy's world. An exciting, non-stop action, funny story with a sci-fi adventure theme and some fantasy thrown in for good measure. A really fun ride! ( )
  ElizaJane | Dec 12, 2011 |
This is a goofy, delightful, careening tale. The joy at cobbling together the tale, one author/illustrator at a time, is evident. This story is the kind of wild romp that will make kids snort when it's read aloud in a classroom. Save literary analysis for another project and just enjoy in the giddy fun of the creators. (152) ( )
  activelearning | Jul 29, 2011 |
Personal Response:

The e-book format, with one chapter release at a time, is what it must have felt like to wait for, say, a Charles Dickens piece in the past. The changes in style and tone are to be expected, with all the different authors. I could not help but compare one to the next, with Lemony Snicket standing out from the bunch (particularly with his meta-narrative highlighting the disjointed nature of the story).

Programming or curricular connections:

Analysis of style

Kids could write their own exquisite corpse story, either adding a chapter to the Exquisite Corpse Adventure, or working together on a wholly new story.
  hsollom | Aug 9, 2010 |
Having never read an online book before I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be. While I did miss the physical aspect of a “real book” I enjoyed the “turning” of the pages, and the format was very clear and simple. I especially liked the optional audio version; I think many readers (especially beginners) will enjoy listening and reading along with it. As this book is written by several different authors, I wasn’t sure the tone and language would flow well, and that it may seem like a disjointed narrative. However, the author changes for the most part are not offensively noticeable. There are subtle callbacks to previous chapters, and continuity is apparent in words and phrases. The major complaint is that the story can get rather repetitive (ie. numerous episodes end with a threatening, mysterious, disembodied voice), and the plot often seems patched together. The downside to different authors is that they don’t know the trajectory of the plot, and often have to write situations in ways to make it easy for the next author to follow. Overall an interesting experimental story.
  ECraine | Aug 4, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
National Children's Book and Literacy Allianceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gantos, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellogg, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Ever heard of an Exquisite Corpse? It's not what you might think. An Exquisite Corpse is an old game in which people write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold it over to conceal part of it and pass it on to the next player to do the same. The game ends when someone finishes the story, which is then read aloud.

Our "Exquisite Corpse Adventure" works this way: Jon Scieszka, the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, has written the first episode, which is "pieced together out of so many parts that it is not possible to describe them all here, so go ahead and just start reading!" He has passed it on to a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who must eventually bring the story to an end.

Episode 1 – “ . . . Just Start Reading”

Contributed by: Jon Scieszka

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 2 – “The Lost Clue”

Contributed by: Katherine Paterson

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 3 – “This chapter is entitled (what else?) THE FOUND CLUE”

Contributed by: Kate DiCamillo

Illustration by: Calef Brown

Episode 4 – “Dig That Pig”

Contributed by: Susan Cooper

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 5 – “The Exquisite Corpse”

Contributed by: Gregory Maguire

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 6 – “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!”

Contributed by: Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 7 – “The Beast Pit”

Contributed by: Shannon Hale

Illustration by: Calef Brown

Episode 8 – “A Possible Solution”

Contributed by: Natalie Babbitt

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 9 – “In Arm's Way”

Contributed by: Natalie Babbitt

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 10 – “Wolf at the Door”

Contributed by: Megan McDonald

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 11 – “A Second Arm”

Contributed by: Steven Kellogg

Illustration by: Steven Kellogg

Episode 12 – “The Shadowy Abyss of Our Own Fates”

Contributed by: Lemony Snicket

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 13 – “Lucky Episode 13: Out of the Cradle, Into the Fire”

Contributed by: M. T. Anderson

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 14 – “Skills”

Contributed by: Linda Sue Park

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 15 – “The Gingerbread House”

Contributed by: Katherine Paterson

Illustration by: Calef Brown

Episode 16 – “If I Only Had a Leg”

Contributed by: Kate DiCamillo

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 17 – “Speak, Memory”

Contributed by: Susan Cooper

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 18 – “The Regional Conference”

Contributed by: Gregory Maguire

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 19 – “Legs on the Run”

Contributed by: Shannon Hale

Illustration by: Calef Brown

Episode 20 – “An Angel Descends”

Contributed by: Steven Kellogg

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 21 – “Anything At All”

Contributed by: Linda Sue Park

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 22 – “Meanwhile, Near a Meadow”

Contributed by: Lemony Snicket

Illustration by: James Ransome

Episode 23 – “Promises, Promises, and More Promises”

Contributed by: Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack

Illustration by: Calef Brown

Episode 24 – “When Is a Door Not a Door?”

Contributed by: Natalie Babbitt

Illustration by: Timothy Basil Ering

Episode 25 – “Que Sera, Sera.”

Contributed by: Jack Gantos

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 26 – “The Final Scramble”

Contributed by: Jack Gantos

Illustration by: Chris Van Dusen

Episode 27 – “The Final Scramble”

Contributed by: Katherine Paterson

Illustration by: Calef Brown
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763651494, Hardcover)

Take twenty top kids' authors and illustrators. Give them free rein to take turns creating a zany progressive story. What could possibly happen next?

It all starts with a train rushing through the night. . . . Well, actually, it starts when Jon Scieszka, former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, writes a cliff-hanger episode and passes it on to the next member of a cast of celebrated writers and illustrators, who continues the story and passes it on. And what happens between episodes one and twenty-seven? Think werewolves and mad scientists, a talking pig, plenty of explosions, a blue Star Wars lunchbox, two meatballs, a whole army of villains and varmints, and one just plain bad egg. Not to mention our heroes, eleven-year-old twins Nancy and Joe, raised in a circus, who must find the pieces of a Top-Secret Robot in order to rescue their parents before . . . tick, tick, tick!

A collaboration between the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance and the Library of Congress's Center for the Book, THE EXQUISITE CORPSE ADVENTURE originated as a national literacy project for young people and helped launch the READ.gov website.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Twins Joe and Nancy were raised in a circus but on their eleventh birthday they learn their parents are still alive and need their help, so they set out on an quest filled with many extraordinary beings and adventures. Consists of twenty-seven episodes by nineteen authors and pictures by five illustrators.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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