Three-year-old F has thoroughly enjoyed a surprising bedtime book these past two nights: Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly.

It’s his first Gail Carson Levine book, and mine, too. But I saw her captivate a big room at the recent book festival, and when she mentioned Writing Magic, I knew I wanted to sample more of what she had to say. I half-seriously suggested it for bedtime reading, and F took me up on it.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a how-to book about writing, and I’ve experienced a whole lot of “Oh, yeah — I’d meant to be doing that” and “I used to do that” moments. For me, Writing Magic has been a welcome refresher course.

But what has F gotten out of it? I mean, the boy’s bright, but he isn’t writing or reading yet. He does, however, make up stories left and right, most of them about an imaginary Everyrodent friend of his. Writing Magic‘s creativity prompts are right up his alley. Last night, he imagined a real-life human friend of his as a Game Boy-playing, bamboo-eating panda. He laughed at his interspecies mental construction, and then conked right out.