Category Archives: Mentor Texts

Stick-to-itiveness

My Five Star Rating on my Good Reads.

I bought ON ACCOUNT OF THE GUM as a gift for a new big sister. I can only imagine what these two sisters will get into as they grow. Hasn’t everyone encountered a sticky situation of some sort? What about gum on your shoe – or worse yet – have you had gum stuck in your hair? What did you do? Read ON ACCOUNT OF THE GUM to get some new ideas in case you need to remove gum from your hair.

Published by Chronicle Books in 2020, ON ACCOUNT OF THE GUM written and illustrated by Adam Rex, begins with a bubble and a bed. That’s right. You predicted it, too. The sticky pink blob is stuck right smack on top of the kid’s head in a tussle of hair. What in the world will work to remove the gum?

Rex’s cumulative tale builds the tale in outlandish, laughable, and re-readable ways. Rex’s storyline, rhythm, and word choices are laugh-out-loud hilarious to say nothing of the ridiculous solutions depicted in the illustrations. My advice… never trust wild ideas from Internet searches or adults’ ideas either. I suspect the main character’s advice is: Trust your gut to untangle your own sticky situations so you’re ready for anything. Yes, indeed. Stick-to-itiveness is required.

A Read Aloud and a Writing Mini Lesson:

  1. Show the cover and first spread of the book ON ACCOUNT OF THE GUM. Ask your students to predict what will happen.
  2. Before reading the book aloud, ask your students to think about what will happen next.
  3. Pause long enough at each spread (without questioning the students) so your students can look at the characters’ facial expressions and actions in each illustration.
  4. Shared Writing: Write a list of the solutions in order that did not work in ON ACCOUNT OF THE GUM. What did work? What would you do? How would you be persistent in your search for solutions?

Common Core State Standards: Writing 3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

  1. Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
  2. Use dialogue and descriptions fo actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events.
  3. Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
  4. Provide a sense of closure.
  • Create a story map or story board or other graphics to identify, discuss, and arrange the different events or scenes in the story.
  • Discuss the difference between read experiences and imagined experiences. Find picture books on your shelves that compare and contrast.

Writing Prompt: Notice how Adam Rex uses a narrator who uses the word YOU. Think about a time when YOU tried different actions to get yourself out of a sticky situation. Find a moment in that idea/situation that you could expand into a story with a narrator telling the story using the word YOU. Your story should have one main character, a problem, three attempts to solve the problem, with a fourth attempt that works.

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Determination

I am committed to putting books about lovely, strong-willed characters (who are determined to achieve their goals and right wrongs along the way) into the hands and hearts of children.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, 2014, published by Kids Can Press, Ltd.

This magnificent picture book about a girl who is determined to make the bring her ideas to life. She has plan. All she has to do is make it. The notion that “I can do this” is relatable to children.

As is typical in most picture book arc, the trials and tribulations turns out to be difficult. It is so hard in fact, that she quits. Readers will see that it is okay to make mistakes. Sprires’ masterful use of precise action words are engaging and inspirational . This book has curricular tie-ins to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as well as to social emotional teachable moments.

The Power of Yet by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, 2021, published by Harry N. Abrams

This picture book kicked off the shiny new 21 year! It tells the story of one piglet who uses the power of yet to conquer frustration. She is determined to flip pancakes and play the violin. Readers will see that with practice, patience, and determination, anything is possible!

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