Mentor Text Review: Norton and the Bear

  • Author and illustrator: Gabriel Evans
  • Publisher: Berbay

Norton and the Bear by Gabriel Evans is a hilarious book about the pros and cons of being unique. It would be a great book for helping junior students through the classic “she/he is copying me!’ phase, as it shows how individuality can still be achieved (even when someone is ‘copying’ you.)

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This is a lovely example of the writer choosing a topic that is small and comes from an everyday event- someone trying to copy you. This could come from a writer’s notebook piece.

ORGANISATION: In just 2 sentences, the author has created an interesting lead- we learn enough about the main character to be enticed into learning
more. This book is well structured and logical in its sequence.

VOICE: Investigate- The voice of both characters in this text is unique. The difference in font helps, but how else is it created?

WORD CHOICE: Norton thinks he is pretty important, so he uses big and important words- unique, exceptionally, horrified, identical.

SENTENCE FLUENCY: A range of short, simple sentences have been used alongside some complex ones. The power of a short sentence could be explored with students.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

PREDICTING: The illustrations in this book are gorgeous and help provide extra details. Students could practise using the illustrations to make predictions. Use the cover, end papers and title. What do you think this could be about? Be sure to check and change your predictions as you are reading.

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Have students turn and talk about a time when someone was copying them. Who was it? What were they copying? How did it
feel? What did you do about it? (This could spark an innovation on text piece of writing). Compare this book to The Unwilling Twin. (The character in that book thinks she has an identical twin brother.) How are the stories and characters similar and different?

SUMMARISING: Have students first retell each event in the story before summarising what it was mainly about. Students could illustrate the order of events in their reader’s notebook.