As we learned during ReFoReMo and continue to learn through this blog, mentor texts can help us analyze the picture book craft and strengthen our own writing. As you research Deborah Underwood's two newest mentor texts, keep your eyes open for these strengths:
-Character development is huge here! Cinderella is an independent, intelligent girl with dreams and perseverance. She thinks outside the box and succeeds at what she puts her mind to. She is not the Cinderella of ages ago, but a very current, stand-up-for-yourself version, that will leave girls (and women) feeling empowered.
-Rhyme and rhythm are consistent and lively...nothing boring about them. Are you working on rhyme? Read it aloud 10 times and internalize the meter.
-Surprise ending! Yes, even a fairy tale can have a surprise when it is fractured. This version sets itself apart as a clever, unique Cinderella retelling. If you are writing a fractured fairytale, or hope to one day, consider comparing different fractured tales to the original versions. Notice which ones stand out and why.
-Metafiction: Because this book encourages interaction between the narrator and Cat, it plays with the fiction form. Take note of how the interaction takes place.
-Page turns leave us in suspense and propel us forward to read more.
-Distinct voice & character: Even though the narrator tells the story, notice how we get a distinct grasp on Cat's character and how this voice flavors both the narrator and Cat. Even without talking, Cat's "sign language" and facial expressions convey a determined, moody "catitude". Interplay between text and illustrations is a biggie in this series!
-Humor: Kids love to laugh and Cat will not only keep them laughing, but make them want to reread the story over and over again.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Deborah as the May Mystery Author at the Carrie On... Together blog. Take a peek into her writing process HERE and consider conducting an author study on all of Deborah's work. You will find her fiction titles HERE and nonfiction HERE. (Extra bonus: There is a GIVEAWAY going on at the interview!) Enjoy!