Mentor Text Review: Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

  • Author: Gina M Newton
  • llustrator: Rachel Tribout
  • Publisher: CSIRO

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish by Gina M Newton and Rachel Tribout is a non-fiction narrative about Australia’s critically endangered handfish (named because it walks on its hands instead of swimming like other fish).

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This book provides a fresh approach to presenting non-fiction information to readers. The author is passionate about the topic and it shows in the writing. Students should consider animals they are passionate or curious about and do further research to assist their own non-fiction writing. The author has added lots of carefully selected, credible details to show she is an authority on the topic. You could do an inquiry with students about how these details have been presented- some are in the text, some in diagrams and some I the timeline (that’s the beauty and flexibility you have when writing non-fiction).

ORGANISATION: This is a great book for examining how the author has grouped the information and details she has researched on this topic. Each page is divided into smaller sections- each with a clear focus. (You could lead students to develop subheadings for each page in the book to help highlight how the information has been set out).

VOICE: This is a non-fiction narrative told in the first-person perspective. This could inspire students to have a go at writing their own non-fiction using first-person. How would their animal think, feel or wonder? What voice might they use to speak? Would they use short or long sentences? What technical words might they use?

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

QUESTIONING: This book provides a fascinating insight into these little-known fish. Students should pay attention to their thinking as they read. Which parts fascinate them? Which parts do they have wonderings or questions about? Are these questions answered in the book or could they do more research to locate the answers? Students could track their thinking using a K-W-L chart.