I was trying to read the other week in a park and was quite distracted by two squirrels playing independently and then together at the base of a tree. This was a little foreshadowing to my upcoming book sale shopping experience. I couldn't resist picking up Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep by April Pulley Sayer and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. At first glance, I thought the book was an easy read and maybe too easy for my second graders. Then I read it again while shopping and discovered the simple text structure was packed with information about squirrels.
Think about this sample text -
Tail as flag.
Tail for balance.
zig and zag!
Maybe it's my recent personal encounter with squirrels or the carefully crafted cut and torn paper collage illustrations but I'm thinking this book is a perfect mentor text for writing from your observations. As I read many pages, I kept nodding my head and saying; I saw that. Not only is this about squirrels but about their impact on trees.
The book has a wonderful four page insert at the end with additional information for readers to understand the ideas presented within the simpler text; tails as tools, feeding time, and overwhelmed by acorns are a few sections. She also offers suggestions for further reading. This information here makes this book accessible for readers in any grade. I also think it would be interesting for older students to start with the last four pages and discover where the simpler texts ideas came from.