Mentor Text Review: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

6 traits in writing mentor text information writing
  • Author and illustrator: Sami Bayly
  • Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals, written and illustrated by Sami Bayly, is a beautifully presented book that aims to educate readers on a range of dangerous (and potentially misunderstood) animals from around the world. The book highlights the clever adaptations of these animals, and each page of text is accompanied by a stunning illustration.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

This book would be a useful mentor for modelling information writing to students.

IDEAS: students could think of animals they are fascinated with and learn about those to spark their own writing. The details Sami Bayly has chosen to include (or leave out) are a strength of this book. She has left the illustrations to detail the look of the animal used to the text to focus on providing a short summary of fascinating facts.

ORGANISATION: each page follows a similar structure (one that students could replicate to add their own animal). The introduction at the start of the book provides a great lead for the book.

VOICE: the tone of this book draws the reader in- you can hear the author’s interest and fascination with each animal. What is it about the writing that makes you feel that the author loved learning about each animal?

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

This book would be a great model for discussing the text structure and features of traditional non-fiction writing. It includes an introduction, contents page, headings, sub-headings, scientific names (with phonetic spelling underneath), a sizing scale and fun fact boxes.

ORGANISATION: in writing and the text feature of sub-headings in reading, you could cut up some sentences from a page in the book and have students group them under the appropriate headings (or ask them to come up with an appropriate heading for the grouped sentences). Students could record their thinking about an animal as a KWL chart in their reader’s notebooks, tracking changes in their thinking as they read.

Read my interview with author/illustrator Sami Bayly here

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