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Inky’s Amazing Escape by Sy Montgomery illustrated by Amy Shimler-Saford

This engaging book cover caught my eye during a summer stroll through the picture book stacks of my favorite library. I picked it up, sat down and read all about Inky’s escape from New Zealand’s National Aquarium. When I was done, I knew I had a new mentor text to use with my fifth-grade writers.

Last week I shared Inky’s Amazing Escape with the intention of using it as a narrative nonfiction mentor text.

As we read kids noticed:

Sy Montgomery uses repetition. She keeps repeating “one arm, two arms, four arms–eight“. I would like to try using repetition in my nonfiction writing.

I noticed that the author used dashes. I never know when to use a dash.

She ask questions in the middle of the story. I sometimes use them in leads or conclusions, but not middles. I think I could try that.

The author puts octopus facts throughout the story. Like the part when it says Inky “could both feel and taste with his suckers”.

I got to the end and closed the back cover. I looked up at the group of fifth graders in front of me expecting smiles and positive feedback.

Not one word. Just 21 pairs of eyes staring at me.

A few seconds passed and one student asked, “That’s the end?”

Then, the floodgates opened, and students began calling out:

It’s a cliffhanger!

Can we write our own story about what we think Inky is doing now?

I want to write what happens next from Inky’s point of view!

And that’s how Inky’s Amazing Escape also became a mentor text for fifth-grade narrative fiction writing!

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