Mentor Text Review: Go Home, Cheeky Animals!

  • Author: Johanna Bell
  • Illustrator: Dion Beasley
  • Publisher: A&U Children’s

Go Home, Cheeky Animals! Written by Johanna Bell and illustrated by Dion Beasley is a gorgeous book about the dogs of Tennant Creek and their role in the community. It was created through a heart-warming collaboration between an aspiring children’s author and an indigenous illustrator with muscle dystrophy and profound deafness.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: this is another book that demonstrates that ideas for writing can come from the world around us- we just have to learn to look at things with our writer’s eyes. Students could use the end papers of this book as inspiration to draw a map of their neighbourhood and consider all the stories that could come from the area.

WORD CHOICE: the author has carefully selected the words for this book, using the collective nouns for the different animals and borrowing overheard language for the character dialogue. Her use of alliteration is also subtle but effective. (‘When the cool winds blow’).

SENTENCE FLUENCY: this would be a great mentor text for teaching students about different sentence types as there are lots of strong examples of complex sentences that students could craft from. (‘In the sweaty season, when a drove of donkeys messes up our yard, the cheeky dogs just lie there, watching.’)

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

PREDICTING: students could make predictions throughout the text and monitor them as they continue reading. (Be sure to focus on the evidence from the text that supports the prediction.)

QUESTIONING: for students who are not familiar with life at Canteen Creek, there are bound to be many questions and wonderings that arise while reading this text. Some quick research could help build reader background knowledge and further curiosity.

SUMMARISING: students could use the ‘first, then, next, finally’ format to summarise this story. I strongly recommend encouraging students to learn more about the author and the illustrator and their collaboration by visiting: https://www.johannabell.com/go-home-cheeky-animals

Semester 2 intake for Writing Traits Masterclass closing soon!