A moose, penguins & book giveaways

The end of the year is almost here and I have so many books I want to share with you (and not enough time to do it). Therefore, I’m combining two mentor text blog posts into one today.  Both books have animals and would be excellent additions to your mentor text library.
This_Moose_Belongs_to_MeOliver Jeffers fans, listen up! This Moose Belongs to Me is another must-have if you enjoy his books. The story has a strong message. The illustrations are a marvel since they are, on many pages, exquisite landscapes with “a bit if technical wizardry thrown in the mix.” The writing makes it an excellent mentor text.  It’s yet another Jeffers book you and your students will treasure.

This Moose Belongs to Me can help you teach students:

  • How to write with a conversational tone while writing in the third person. The narrator felt very familiar to me, as if a/he was speaking to me throughout the book.
    • Wilfred’s rules for how Marcel the moose could be a good pet were written with a healthy dose of humor (by Wilfred) while referring to Wilfred in the third person. I’m not sure how I’d define this as a craft move, but I think I’d touch on this if I were working with a student on 1st/3rd person.
  • There is foreshadowing in this book when the ball of string appears in Wilfred’s hands early in the book. One has to assume the string will cause him to get into trouble (& it does) in the great outdoors.
  • If you’re looking to teach kids who are crafting stories (perhaps in a narrative picture book unit of study) how to break the rules, you can show them how Jeffers crafted dialogue in this book. Instead of traditional dialogue with tags embedded in the prose, he used speech bubbles to show when the characters were speaking aloud.
  • Jeffers emphasized words or phrases by writing in all caps or by increasing the font size.
  • There’s an unexpected twist when the moose does something heroic. Since I don’t want to spoil this for you, I’ll just say that you can use this part of the text to teach story climax or turning points.
  • The book has a satisfying ending that also teaches an important lesson.  Hence, if you want to help students learn how to craft characters who grow, then this book is an exemplar since Wilfred comes to realize that it’s not really possible to own someone (in this case, Marcel the Moose).

baby penguins everywhereBaby Penguins Everwhere! is Melissa Guion’s first picture book. And what a fantastic beginning it is!  On the surface, this appears to be a story about the arrival of baby penguins and how the penguin parent’s life changes drastically.  However, upon closer reader of the text, it’s really a story about the adjustment we go through when a new family member (or members) come to live with us.  As a result, I think this book will be beloved by children who have new siblings arrive and by parents whose new addition(s) are giving them more to do than they ever imagined.

Like This Moose Belongs to Me, Baby Penguins Everywhere! can be used with young writers as a mentor text when you’re trying to illustrate craft moves.  Here are some things you can use this book for with your students:

  • A new twist on an old type of lead.  Rather than beginning with the words “Once upon a time,” Guion starts her book with the words “Once there was a penguin…,” which not only let us know that we’re reading a story, but we know who the main character is.
  • If your students overuse exclamation points, then this book is one you can hold up about how to use them appropriately and sparingly.  After all, if multiple penguins popping out of a hat only calls for a period, then surely students can end some of their sentences with periods, rather than exclamation points, as well.  (For more thinking about exclamation points, click here.)
  • While we’re talking about conventions, let me mention points of ellipses.  Guion uses ellipses to convey thoughts from one page spread to the next page or from the bottom to the top of the page.  For students who aren’t sure when, why, and how to use ellipses, you can show them how she uses them since I think they’re meant to build a sense of anticipation and wonder in the text.
  • Drawing is a form of writing. Therefore, you can show young writers that illustrations can show writers with pictures what they might not be ready or able to convey to their readers with words. For instance, to illustrate the sentence, “She was very, very busy,” there are four pages worth of pictures! On these pages readers will notice the baby penguins throwing snowballs, building snowmen, jumping rope, making a human pyramid, and even playing tug of war.
  • The story includes a satisfying ending that also carries a message.  (The message is that being alone can often be good, but having company fulfills you even though you’re often too busy and tired to realize how wonderful things are.)

Giveaway Information:

(Please read carefully since this giveaway is a bit different than most of the ones I sponsor.)

  • There are two giveaways embedded in this post.  One reader will win a copy of is giveaway is for a copy of This Moose Belongs to Me, while another will win a copy of Baby Penguins Everywhere!  Many thanks to Philomel for sponsoring this giveaway.
  • To enter for a chance to win a copy of one or both books you should leave a comment on this post.  Please specify if you want to be in the drawing for one or both of the books (You can only win one even if your commenter number is drawn twice.).  Be sure to state which one you are interested in if you only want to win one of the books.  (If your comment doesn’t state the title(s) of the books you’re interested in and it’s selected, then I’ll draw another number using the random number generator.)
  • All comments left on or before Sunday, January 6th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST will be entered into a random drawing using a random number generator on Monday, January 7th.   I will announce the winner’s name at the bottom of this post by Tuesday, January 8thth.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Philomel will ship the book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field.)

Comments are now closed.  Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post.

The random generator worked its magic and selected Renee Tobias (This Moose Belongs to Me) and Dana Murphy (Baby Penguins Everywhere!).  Congratulations!

Dana wrote:

I would love a copy of Baby Penguins Everywhere! How I wish I knew about this book 10 months ago when I brought Baby #2 home from the hospital! Thanks for the post!

Renee wrote:

I would love to win either of the two books for our mentor text collection. Since we are writing our new ELA curriculum I am always looking for new resources.