Mentor Text Review: Meet… Banjo Paterson

  • Author: Kristin Weidenbach
  • llustrator: James Gulliver Hancock
  • Publisher: Random House Australia

Meet… Banjo Paterson is part of the ‘Meet…’ series of books about famous Australians. This biographical book tells the story of how Banjo Paterson came up with 2 of his famous poems- The Man from Snowy River and Waltzing Matilda. It’s an engaging read and leaves you wanting to read more of his poems.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This book is a great example of refining a topic to be tight and manageable. The author lets you know on the first page which part of Banjo Paterson’s life they’ve chosen to focus on. The timeline at the back of the book gives broader information but it is still focused on his writing. This can help students refine their own expositional (information) writing to be more manageable.

ORGANISATION: use this book to investigate how the author moves time and guides the reader through the book.

book. VOICE: The writing in this book is expressive and compelling. The author does a great job of showing (not telling) the reader about Banjo’s love of the bush. Reread this book with students to uncover and discuss how the author achieved this.

WORD CHOICE: This book contains effective examples of adjectives (‘he loved the velvety tickle of a foal’s nose), alliteration and repetition.

SENTENCE FLUENCY: a variety of sentence starters and lengths have been used. The writing is almost as rhythmic as Banjo’s writing.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

PREDICITNG when reading non-fiction is all about what you think you will learn when reading this page/chapter/book. This is a great book to consider prior knowledge of a topic and learn how to use this knowledge to make predictions about the book. (Do you know any of Banjo’s poems? What were they about? How might that help you predict what you might read about in this book?)

DETERMINING IMPORTANCE: Readers can discuss the most important information in this book, as opposed to the interesting, additional details.

QUESTIONING: Pay attention to wonderings as you read the book. Especially good non-fiction should have readers asking lots of questions after they finish the book and encourage them to want to learn more.

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