Were there any particular mentor texts that inspired you when writing Groundhog's Dilemma, Kris?
I love picture books that have a little nod to the humor of the adults reading to the child, and especially those that use wonderful language that isn’t “dumbed down” simply because it’s written for kids. Margie Palatini and Lisa Wheeler are geniuses at this.
"'Bear, Bear, Bear, my dear dim buddy. Your job is brawn. Not brain. You leave the thinking to me. After all, I'm the fox. Sly. Clever. Smart. I know how to get grapes.'
Bear shrugged. 'If you say so.'"
from LOUSY ROTTEN STINKIN' GRAPES written by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Barry Moser
"And come November, it was turkey time.
One by one, the fattest, roundest turkeys were chosen.
'Chosen for what?' asked Turk.
'To be the lead dancer in Swan Lake,' said his mother.
'To play in the Thanksgiving Day football game,' said his father.
'To be roasted and gently basted,' said his brother, Runt.
But no one ever listened to Runt."
from TURK AND RUNT written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Ansley
"Standing there before him was a quaint, quilled creature.
'You don't look like a hedge or a hog!' said Cushion. 'You're beautiful!'
'And you don't look like pork or a pine!' said Barb. 'You're outstanding!'"
From PORCUPINING: A PRICKLY LOVE STORY written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Janie Bynum
What do you feel is the BEST way for picture book writers to utilize mentor texts?
Read the mentor texts out loud. Picture books, like poetry, are meant to be read aloud, so if you stumble over a phrase or find you have to reread a sentence, take note. Note, too, the parts that are a pleasure to hear and to say.
Kristen was also one of our 2015 ReFoReMo Author-Educators. You'll find that expert mentor text advice HERE and also on her blog, where she reviews books. And don't miss her journey to publication and beyond in Part 1 of our interview HERE.
Kristen Remenar is an author, children’s librarian, and national speaker on early literacy. Her first picture book is GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA, published by Charlesbridge, and is illustrated by the award-winning author/artist (and super-cute husband), Matt Faulkner. Her alter ego, Helen Wrath, has a book out on December 29 (just in time to deal with your post-holiday stress disorder) called DRAW WITH A VENGEANCE: GET EVEN IN INK AND LET KARMA HANDLE THE REST.