Mentor Text Monday: Found
February 22, 2016
What writers and illustrators can learn from Found.
* capture the heart of a character in such a way that the reader will envision him/herself as the main character.
* highlight a 100% relatable experience for the intended young audience.
* use humor in clever, subtle ways that will make kids and adults alike laugh out loud.
* use end papers to hook readers with humor and leave them begging to find out more.
* make every word count.
Salina Yoon's Found pulled at my heartstrings and my funny bone. As every child can relate to losing countless objects- some dear and some forgotten, as well as growing attached to a special toy, this story appeals to both young and old and is a cuddle up read aloud. The clever "lost" signs preface the story's end papers with laughs and smiles- from lost homework to lost track of time, and introduce an "It Factor" right away. (Kids will return to this "Lost Board" and want to show it to their friends...maybe even make their own posters.) We enter the story in a cheery mood- kind of like when an opening act comedian warms up the audience. We're ready to root for our thoughtful, compassionate main character Bear who has good intentions of finding a lost stuffed bunny its home. As he searches, he becomes quite attached to his newfound friend, which brings in the all-important emotional connection in a story. As an experienced teacher of grades PK-3, I can immediately think of some great writing projects for the youngest up to the third grade level. The plot portrays clear story elements that lend themselves as a model to lessons, as well. While the text is sparse, some might say it is geared more toward the 4-6 year old end of the 4-8 spectrum. However, the details in illustration are so clever and entertaining that it provides a pull for the 7-8 year olds, as well. With many reluctant readers in our world, they will not be threatened to pick this up and read it independently. I loved this story is every way.
Carrie on mentoring,
Carrie Charley Brown is the founder and co-coordinator of ReFoReMo, or Reading for Research Month, a research challenge and blog focused on mentor texts for picture book writers. She eats, sleeps, and breathes KidLit as a picture book writer, CYBILS panelist, and Regional Advisor for SCBWI North Texas.
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