independent writing projects · mentor texts · picture book

Inspiration for an Independent Writing Project

With the school year wrapping up, I’m assuming that many of you are starting your final units of study.  I’m sure many of you are doing an independent writing project unit so as to get your students ready to go off and write independently this summer.

When I received a review copy of Todd H. Doodler‘s Animal Soup: A Mixed-Up Animal Flap Book, I wasn’t so sure I’d review it.  Yes, yes, I judged a book by its cover (albeit a really cute cover).  I found myself wondering how I’d recommend a book written for three to five year-olds for use as a mentor text.  But, after reading it twice, I did!

Doodler’s book is about the mixing-up of animals who usually would never mate.  The book is silly, but extremely clever.  Here are some excerpts from this book, which reveals the name of the new/mixed-up animals under each flap.


if I were pink from head to toe…

…and swung by my tail

from a tree?





if I looked like a log…

…and had eight long arms

to dangle?




Permission to use text provided by Random House Children’s Books.

This book can inspire students who want to create an out-of-the box story (or book) for their independent writing project.  Writing an entertaining book the youngest readers will want to return to again and again is a challenge.  Non-traditional picture books, like Animal Soup,  is one of the books you should have on-hand if you want to inspire clever writing from your students if they choose to create a picture book for their independent writing project during the final month of the school year.

2 thoughts on “Inspiration for an Independent Writing Project

  1. I love this! I think it would definitely get kids’ imaginations going. It reminds me of Beezus in Beezus and Ramona – she has to go to art class and paint an imaginary animal but she doesn’t think she is creative while Ramona easily paints something the teacher loves.


  2. I’m so excited!! I’ve won a recorded book from Recorded Books and an autographed book from teachingauthors this last week…. both “contests” from threads I followed from this blog!
    Thank you!


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