Monday, February 20, 2017

Fantastic Flowers as Mentor Text

Guest Post by Author/Illustrator Susan Stockdale

Let’s explore flowers that look like other things!

Fantastic Flowers celebrates 17 flowers from around the world that resemble objects, creatures and even people, from spiraling spoons to flying birds to sleeping babies. The rhythmic, rhyming text and bright, bold illustrations bring to life this dazzling display of surprising blooms. Fantastic Flowers encourages object identification and inspires children to observe nature more closely. Back matter provides information on the pollination process, color photos of the flowers (so children understand that they are real!) and a flower identification guide.

Before reading, show students the flower illustrations in the book. Ask them what they think the flowers resemble.

Writing prompts

• Write a paragraph about your favorite flower in the book, stating the reason you chose it.

• Select a flower in the book and generate two lists: one with adjectives (e.g. wild baboons) and one with verbs (e.g. skittering spiders) that describe it. Write a paragraph about the flower using your adjectives and verbs.

• Select a flower in the book and write a few sentences about it that integrates the information provided in the back matter, which includes the flowers’ common names, scientific names, native range (habitat) and pollinators.

• Create your own name for each flower, being as imaginative and playful as possible.

• Select two flowers in the book and imagine that they can speak. Write a few sentences imagining what they might “say” to one another in a conversation. For example, how might they compliment one another?

BIO: Susan Stockdale freelanced as a textile designer for the apparel industry before becoming the author and illustrator of 8 picture books for young children. Her books celebrate nature with exuberance and charm and have won awards from the American Library Association, Parents’ Choice, the National Science Teachers Association and Bank Street College of Education, among others. She lives with her husband in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Visit her website at 

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