#MentorTextMoment, Books

#MentorTextMoment: Predator and Prey

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The Book:

PREDATOR AND PREY: A CONVERSATION IN VERSE

Author/Illustrator: Susannah Buhrman-Deever, illustrations by Bert Kitchen

Publication Info.: Candlewick, 2019

Ages/Grades: ages 6 to 9

Category: lyrical, compare/contrast, expository

Overview (from the publisher):

“Who wins, the assassin bug or the spider? The bat or the frog? The ant or the honey bee? The male firefly . . . or the female? The battle for survival between predator and prey is sometimes a fight, sometimes a dance, and often involves spying, lying, or even telling the truth to get ahead. Biologist and debut author Susannah Buhrman-Deever explores these clashes in poems and prose explanations that offer both sides of the story. With beautiful, realistic illustrations that are charged with drama, Bert Kitchen captures the breathtaking moments when predator meets prey. Readers who hunger for more about the art of survival will find an extensive list of references in the back. ”

What’s noteworthy for authors and educators:

I had to take my time to savor the brilliance of PREDATOR AND PREY. Dueling poems representing the POVs of both predator and prey on each spread…it’s just magical when structure and content are so perfectly aligned.

#MentorTextMoment, Books

#MentorTextMoment: SEASHELLS: MORE THAN A HOME

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The Book:

SEASHELLS: MORE THAN A HOME

Author/Illustrator: Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah Brannen

Publication Info.: Charlesbridge, 2019

Category: Nonfiction, compare/contrast, expository, layered text, list structure

Overview (from the publisher): “Prolific, award-winning nonfiction author Melissa Stewart reveals the surprising ways seashells provide more than shelter to the mollusks that inhabit them.

Young naturalists discover thirteen seashells in this elegant introduction to the remarkable versatility of shells. Dual-layered text highlights how shells provide more than a protective home in this expository nonfiction exploration. The informative secondary text underscores characteristics specific to each shell. Elegant watercolor illustrations create a scrapbook feel, depicting children from around the world observing and sketching seashells across shores. ”

What’s noteworthy for authors and educators:

Compare/contrast list books are hard to write. You must get the hook/concept just right in the opening spread. Then all subsequent examples must reinforce the idea. Melissa Stewart’s SEASHELLS: MORE THAN A HOME is a perfect example.

Additional Resources/Classroom activities:

Melissa Stewart’s website is a rich resource for educators (and authors). Her video lesson about voice choice draws upon SEASHELLS, and would be a great lesson for authors of all ages.

#MentorTextMoment, Books

#MentorTextMoment: SUPERLATIVE BIRDS

superlativebirds_mainThe Book:

SUPERLATIVE BIRDS

Author/Illustrator: Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck

Publication Info.: Peachtree, 2019

Category: Nonfiction, compare/contrast, lyrical, list structure

Overview (from the publisher): “Ever wonder which bird has the loudest voice? Which one builds the biggest nest or has the most feathers? Get to know all about the best and brightest―and smelliest!―denizens of the bird world with this collection of nonfiction science verses. You won’t need your binoculars to observe the superlative characteristics of these avian wonders.”

What’s noteworthy for authors and educators:

#Nonfiction needs multiple hooks. Leslie Bulion’s SUPERLATIVE BIRDS includes science notes (sidebars) on each page and employs multiple poetic forms, which are explained in the backmatter.

Additional Resources/Classroom activities:

On Leslie’s website, you’ll find two teacher’s guides, one from Leslie, as well as one from CLASSROOM BOOKSHELF. She also has a song poem recording.

#MentorTextMoment, Books

#MentorTextMoment: Birds of a Feather

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The Book:

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

Author/Illustrator: Susan L. Roth

Publication Info.: Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, 2019

Category: Nonfiction, compare/contrast

What’s noteworthy for authors and educators:

Written in first person POV, this compare/contrast nonfiction picture book features the author/illustrator, Susan Roth as the narrator. In each spread, she compares the work of a collage artist with that of a bowerbird, a species from Australia/New Guinea that builds bowers to attract mates. She discusses their purpose for creating, tools, and much more. This book would make a great read aloud and the perfect jumping off point for classroom collage art.

Additional Resources:

Learn more about Susan’s process on her website.