Mentor Text Review: Herman and Rosie

6 traits in writing mentor text
  • Author and illustrator: Gus Gordon
  • Publisher: Penguin

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon is a delightful book about overcoming loneliness to find friendship. It’s about finding the small and special things within the hustle and bustle of a big city.

suggestions for using this mentor text to teach writing

IDEAS: This story follows a dual narrative format where the narrator tracks two main characters until their eventual meeting. This is an idea students could replicate in their own writing. Who could your 2 main characters be? How are they similar and different? What could make them finally cross paths?

ORGANISATION: the events in this story are logically sequenced and the resolution rounds back to the lead of the story in a circular format.

VOICE: We can hear the narrator’s voice in this story (especially when he adds ‘like good tunes do’.) How else has Gus Gordon
created this sense of voice?

WORD CHOICE: There is effective use of simile (‘made him feel like he had eaten honey straight from the jar’) and metaphor (‘everything had fallen out of tune’).

SENTENCE FLUENCY: Gus Gordon uses a variety of sentence types to create a rhythmic flow throughout the whole book. Use this as a mentor text to teach simple, compound and complex sentences.

suggestions for using this mentor text to teach reading

INFERRING: Gus Gordon always does an exceptional job of leaving space for the reader to join the dots in his narratives (i.e. to infer). He tells us that Herman hears lovely singing but leaves it up to us to work out that it is Rosie doing the singing.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Students could compare and contrast this book to Gus Gordon’s other books (including Wendy). They could also consider other books about friendship and loneliness or compare this to other books with dual narratives.

PREDICTING: Due to the logical flow of this book, it makes it perfect for practising predicting.

SUMMARISING: Again, due to the reasonably simple structure of the book, students can practise summarising using either the ‘someone, wanted, but, so, then’ structure or the ‘first, then, next’ structure.

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