Monday, March 1, 2021

ReFoReMo Day 1: Founders/Authors Kirsti Call and Carrie Charley Brown Hash Out Harmonies


When a symphony orchestra plays really well, it’s a masterpiece of collaboration. Each instrument adds power to the music we hear.  Harmonies and countermelodies are only possible when two or more instruments are playing. And when an instrument is missing, it’s obvious to anyone who knows and feels the music.  

Mentor texts are like conductors. They help us study when to rest, which beats to take, what notes to hit. Each element of a mentor text combines like the instruments in an orchestra to create the perfect powerful story. As we read mentor texts, we take notes, so we don’t miss a beat when it comes to our craft.  

 

Your conductors are here! They’re turning to you and gently tapping their batons on your notebook. They’re raising them high and waiting for you to follow the music with your pencil. 

 

The following mentor texts are harmonious collaborative masterpieces. 

 


Saturday
by Oge Mora



Finding a balance between work, school, and activities has always been a challenge for families. When you throw a pandemic into the mix, reliable family connections are even more important. Like a great crescendo, SATURDAY builds this bond right from the start with routine and repetition:


Because Ava’s mother worked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, Saturday was the day they cherished.

On Saturdays they zipped to the library for weekly story time.

On Saturdays they lounged…

On Saturdays they picnicked…

And on this Saturday, they would also ride the bus across town for a one-night puppet show!

 

Like the buzzing excitement that we internalize when listening to Beethoven’s Flight of the Bumblebee, interplay between text and words is optimal for relaying the genuine wonder and excitement of a child in deep point of view:

 

The day would be special. The day would be splendid. The day was Saturday! 

The accompanying illustration encircles these words showing Ava and her mother’s flurry of excitement as they prepare to leave for the puppet show. 

 

And as it is true with every family, things don’t always go as planned and stress can get the best of us. A consistent message of unity and coping with disappointment together as a family delivers the closing as the words tease the page turn:

 

"What if we…” Ava started.

“You know we could…” her mother began.

 

It’s the illustrations that leave us with a simple, satisfying outro that celebrates the solution behind their special day.

 



Dozens of Doughnuts
by Carrie Finison, illustrated by Brianne Farley
 

The musicality of this story is in the rhyme, kindness and surprise!

 

Dozens of doughnuts, hot from the pan,

Toasty and tasty, and all for...

 

            DING-

            DONG

 

This delicious read-aloud pairs perfect rhyme with expressive illustrations to create the ideal recipe for heart and humor.

 

Swish! The High-Flying Alley-Ooping Harlem Globe Trotters by Suzanne Slade and Don Tate

 

A steady beat dribbles through the pages with language that bounces so high it jumps right off your tongue! 

 

It all started with those boys, thump-thumping basketballs up and down Chicago’s southside…

Years bounced by…

With their slap-stick tricks and pin-point shots…

It became non-stop, give it all you got, out to win it, sky’s the limit basketball. 

 

With alliteration sprinkled generously throughout:

 ...raucous, record-breaking crowd… 

...trounce the Trotters. 

pope, princes, and presidents…


And a consistent message of unity and equity that wins the game: 


The team that brought black and white America closer together brought the world a little closer together, too.

 

Mootilda’s Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, Illustrated by Claudia Ranucci 

 



This rollicking rhyming book shows how bad notes or bad mooooooods can turn around when in harmony with others. 

 


Mootilda took a breath and said, 

“I don’t know whose upsetter. 
Let’s huddle and Cow-miserate

and then we’ll feel much better.”

 

A repeated refrain echoes song lyrics, and in this case, Mootilda is moooosical in this song she sings.



I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon by Baptiste & Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon

 


United language washes over this story of rebirth in a dry environment where clean water is scarce. 

 

Tantoh drinks up facts and figures faster than his teacher can pour them onto the chalkboard. His hand shoots up like a cornstalk.

 

Deep POV unites us emotionally as he is lying in bed sick for seven years. 

No one should die from drinking something that is necessary for life: water.

 

The underlying message throughout is also a direct quote (proverb) from Farmer Tantoh.

“When you don’t have what you want, use what you have.”

 

The closing leaves us thirsty to contribute to a healthy environment and learn more about environmental activists.


A trickle of hope runs through many villages. And a crop of young farmers-- who are proud to be farmers-- are digging in, planting ideas and growing a movement.

 

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon

 


Rhythmic language creates the music of this story filled with metaphors, similes, onomatopoeia and stunning illustrations.

 

“No! No! No!”

You beat the word like a drum the minute I say, “Come to bed sweet creature.”

 

This charming bedtime story shows creativity at bedtime and the love between a mother and a child.

 

“In the forest of your room, you cling to bear. I turn back the sheets and you GROWL.  “In you both go!” I say.

 

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal

 


Sometimes friends can see what we need before we do ourselves. In this case, the sea is personified as Swashby’s long-time dear friend. Lyrical language gives life to the sea, allowing us to feel her gentle musical waves and caring:

 

She knew him in and out,

Up and down,

And better than anyone.

 

Alliterated language continues to describe the life that Swashby adored,


Salty and sandy and serene. Until...


And pushes beyond the page turn to introduce the life that Swashby swam away from:


..squeaks and squeals sprang from the empty house next door.

 

Swashby leaves messages in the sand for the unwanted neighbors, announcing his intent to remain reclusive. Without ever actually speaking, the illustrations allow the sea to meddle with Swashby’s do-not-disturb tactics, washing out parts of the letters, and leaving invitations in the sand. Each time, a repetitive musical phrase follows: 


And the sea fiddled, just a little. 


Consistently splashed with poetic language that comes in threes, build heart, and creates a pattern, we are left with musicality in our hearts, craving for more:


 After that, it was easy for Swashby to have tea with the girl and her granny--

and ice cream,

and lobster,

and s’mores on the beach.

It was easy for him to share his special sea glass.

It was even easy for him to see that neighbors

could be fun,

and friends,

and... family.

 

No Voice Too Small edited by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley, Illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

 


The symphony of voices in this book shows how each instrument (and person) makes a difference.

 

Each of us can be

The someone

Who does something

 

We can speak our heartache,

Sing our joy, and

Share our dreams.

 

We may be small,

But

      we 

           can 

                 ROAR!

 

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Smith and Sydney Smith 

 


This story is a beautiful empathetic symphony filled with lyricism, poetry, and imagery. There is nothing like hearing the author himself read this book, and therefore, I encourage you to also locate the masterfully-done audio book at your library. The audio alone fills my head with pictures and pulls me so close to this character, who is the author as a child struggling with speech.

 

I wake up with the sounds of words all around me.

And I can’t say them all.


Just the thought of the ‘p’ in pine tree growing roots in his mouth or the ‘c’ in crow getting stuck in his throat makes us feel the weight of this character’s adversity and empathize with him:


The P in pine tree grows roots inside my mouth and tangles my tongue.

The C is a crow that sticks in the back of my throat.

 

Readers are invested in this character’s genuine heart, journey, and struggle. 


At school, I hide in the back of class. I hope I don’t have to talk. When my teacher asks me a question, all my classmates turn and look. They don’t see a pine tree sticking out from my lips instead of a tongue.

 

He replays his bad speech day in his mind, but connecting with the river allows him to feel less alone.


I look at the water bubbling, churning, whirling, and crashing.


When the words around me are hard to say, I think of the river.


Even the river stutters. Like I do.

 


Hope flows like a river for anyone who struggles with adversity:


And I also think of the calm river, beyond the rapids where the water is smooth and glistening.


 

Lights Out by Marsha Diane Arnold and Susan Reagan

 


The poetic words of this book, shimmer and hum like fireflies wings. The hum crescendos to a full song when luminous text and illustrations combine to allow nature’s light to take over.

 

Where is Darkness? Where is Night,

where coyotes sing, owls hunt, and

birds fly across continents,

where foxes move through the dark

and beetles are more than beetles?

 

Fox and Beetle wonder

if Night is only lost.

Out there. Somewhere.

 

And so, together, they set out.

Across the wide, wide world,

they search ...

for the Dark of Night.

 

This is the kind of book not only teaches about light pollution, but it also powerfully shows the beauty of nature. 


What books are harmonious collaborative masterpieces for you?



Kirsti is donating a copy of her newest book, Cow Says Meow to a U.S. winner, and Carrie is donating one quick-look critique! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 1, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.





Kirsti Call is the co-coordinator of ReFoReMo, and the co-host of Picture Book Look. She reads, reviews, revises and critiques every day as a 12x12 elf, a blogger for Writer's Rumpus, and a member of critique groups. She's judged the CYBILS award for fiction picture books since 2015. She is a therapist trained life coach for creatives. Kirsti's picture book, MOOTILITA'S BAD MOOD (Little Bee) debuted in the fall of 2020.  COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) release in 2021. Kirsti is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.


Carrie Charley Brown is the founder and co-coordinator of ReFoReMo. She eats, sleeps, and breathes picture books as an elementary school librarian, writer, and professional critique mentor. Carrie serves as a 12 x 12 Critique Ninja and contributed as a CYBILS fiction picture book panelist and regional advisor for SCBWI North Texas. She enjoys blogging, reviewing books, and spreading mentor text love. Her publications include ghostwritten projects and teacher resources. Carrie has a Masters of Education in School Library Media, and an endorsement in Literacy. She loves motivating people of all ages to discover the joy of reading by connecting personal interests.

312 comments:

  1. In answer to the question at the end:

    Bear Snores On

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    1. Yes, Bear Snores On is a stellar example! Your name is not showing up when you comment. You can type it at the end of your replies. This will help with prize eligibility.

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  2. And off we go! March is coming in like a combination of a lion and a lamb with the incredible titles chosen. [answer: Swashby and the Sea]

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  3. What a delightful start to the month. One of my favorite lyrical picture books is an old one, Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets.

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  4. I loved Saturday. Thanks for a great kickoff!
    Gail Hartman

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  5. A fantastic post to start the month! I love the way you have highlighted lyrical and humorous, fiction and nf, rhyme and prose. Harmony is not just limited to one style or format. The Nest that Wren Built is another one I am currently studying-with the rhythm, imagery, and diction, it truly sings!

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  6. Very excited for a month of mentor texts! Thanks for the first inspiring and informational post, ladies!

    A: What's the Magic Word? by K. DiPucchio (a rhythmic text with animal sounds)

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    1. Thanks for the mentor text recommendation, Rebecca. :)

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  7. So excited to get started and what a wonderful orchestral metaphor to start us off with!

    Answer: The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi with art by Lorena Alvarez still sings for me!

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  8. Great Mentor Texts and Great prizes. Thanks for sharing!

    A: Sorry to piggy back, but I honestly LOVE Mootilda. It's so punny!

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    1. And kids loooove the catch-phrase! When I read this to our students, they loved saying "I'm in a bad moooood!" with me. :)

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    2. Ohhh Lynne Marie, moochas gracias!

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  9. What a great start! I love the lyrical language of these texts. These books are so inspiring! I love the excerpt from I Talk Like a River. I’m anxious to find and read the whole book.

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  10. Beautiful examples all! Great start to ReFoReMo!

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  11. WATER IS WATER is so lyrical, I can't help but almost sing it when I read it. And I TALK LIKE A RIVER has been in my heart since I read it. Conductors Carrie and Kirsti, this is a magnificent list. TY

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    1. I agree, Kathy! Water is Water sings! If you have not heard the audio version of I Talk Like a River yet, you must! The author reads it himself....so moving!

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  12. I so love I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon by Baptiste & Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon.

    It has such a strong opening & beautiful circular ending, and the quote from Farmer Tantoh “When you don’t have what you want, use what you have” is a great one to keep in mind for researching PB masterpieces.

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  13. So grateful to be part of this incredible opportunity again! My lyrical heartbook: Marion Dane Bauer's THE STUFF OF STARS.

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    1. I love The Stuff of Stars! It definitely sprang to mind.

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    2. oooh THE STUFF OF STARS is one of my favorites also!

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  14. Glad to know about some newer lyrical books like SWASHBY AND THE SEA and LIGHTS OUT.

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  15. I think your post is a harmonious collaborative masterpiece. My picture example is Big Papa and the Time Machine. Thank you for all the inspiration.

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  16. Thanks, Carrie & Kirsti for an outstanding kickoff. Bravissimo to the musical performance!

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  17. I Talk Like a River has stuck with me. "Even the river stutters. Like I do."
    Right now, I'm surrounded by counting picture books. One of my new favorites is One Dark Bird by Liz Scanlon.
    1
    dark bird
    perched way up high
    a view of town
    a taste of sky

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  18. I love the way the authors compared a well-written story to a symphony. So true. I great picture books sings!

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  19. Wonderful examples! Thanks for a great start to a month of research. I loved the orchestra metaphor (I have a WIP that features an orchestra)

    My answer: Two longtime favorites - Owl Moon (Yolen) and Crab Moon (Horowitz)

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  20. Matilda Bad Mood is a elementary school counselor's dream book. It is short and lyrical and teachable. Time for me to create a few lesson plans and put it on tpt. Rhonda
    I will say I wasn't sure about this and I'm not sure I can find all these books and read them. But this month is definitely for expanding your mind and writing abilities. Thanks.
    rlbrown1028@gmail.com I clicked comment as but it still comes up as unknown

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    1. Thank you Rhonda, I'm thrilled to hear you like MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD!

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  21. Hip, hip, hooray for the first day of ReFoReMo!

    A favorite of mine is : FEATHERS AND HAIR: WHAT ANIMALS WEAR by Jennifer Ward; illustrated by Jing Jing Tsing, 2017 uses spare simple rhyme.

    Suzy Leopold

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  22. So many wonderful things to think about! I can think of some of my childhood favorites that fall into this category but need to find some more recently published outside of the list you gave us too!

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  23. What a great start! Thanks.

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  24. We all need more harmony and countermelody in our lives. Thank you for sharing!
    Annette

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  25. I am waiting for my copy of Swashby to arrive!!

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  26. What a wonderful way to start the month! I'm inspired by all of these wonderful mentor texts!

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  27. What beautiful books! Can't wait to read them all. Love Mootilda's song (and your cow dress!!). Thank you for an exciting start to March!

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    1. Hooray! I'm glad you love thee song. I've got another COW book coming out in 2 weeks, so the cow dress is doing double duty! haha

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  28. Thank you for all of these wonderful titles! We always loved reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

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  30. Thank you so much for getting this started off with some wonderful books.

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  31. Was so surprisingly delighted by Swish! And I loved Dozens of Doughnuts. Books to buy! I still have several to read today, but I have the stack at my desk! And I've learned so much.

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  32. Great first-day selections! Have to lift up Dozens of Doughnuts for a special hurrah! I mean, how can you not love the line: "LouAnn's heart feels warm but her belly feels hollow." Not to mention: MOUFFETTE! I just love saying that name!

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  33. Thank you so much for this incredible post!!! "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin is my mentor text for a harmonious collaborative masterpiece but now, thanks to you, I have so many new ones!

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  34. Wonderful post on books with harmony. Great concept for mentor texts. Thanks for sharing this selection of picture books.

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  35. Wonderful start. I love that musicality can be shown through word choice and rhythm. Its not necessarily rhyme exclusive. I'm already thinking about one of my manuscripts and how to convey the movement of the story more effectively. So in love with Swashby and the Sea. Any story with sea glass has me hooked.

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  36. This is one of my favorite activities with mentor texts: finding the lyricism and music and rhythm in them (this is also how I like to write). One of my favorites is Me and You and the Red Canoe.

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  37. Green on Green by Dianne White and illustrated by Felicita Sala is beautifully and colorfully lyrical!

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  38. Not sure my first try at commenting went through.
    I loved I AM FARMER and NO VOICE TOO SMALL for their messages. I teach high school and want to share both with my students. I AM FARMER has the most visual use of words it's beautiful to read. And all students will be inspired by the contributions in NO VOICE TOO SMALL and the variety of poems. Lovely read.

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  39. Kirsti and Carrie, thank you for your dedication to the KidLit community. I have grown as a picture book writer by participating in ReFoReMo and 12x12.

    The books you have selected for this first post are great examples of the musicality of a well crafted story. OWL MOON by Jane Yolen is a classic for showing the beauty of lyrical language.

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  40. I'm not sure if my comment came through so I'll try again. This post is a wonderful way to kick off the month. I love The Wise Woman and Her Secret. I used to read it to my students at the start of every school year. : )

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  41. I was already in love with Dozens of Doughnuts. Swashby and the Sea blew me away, thank you.
    One other book that sings to me is Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour.
    Thank you for a great start to the month!

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  42. Great examples! I also love Water is Water by Miranda Paul and The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer for their lyrical language of "sciency" topics.

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  43. These mentor texts are great, and your analysis accompanying each very helpful. Sipping coffee, reading pbs, scribbling notes - March is off to an awesome start. Thank you Carrie and Kirsti.

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  44. I've already read four of today's mentor texts and they are wonderful! Thank you for doing ReFoReMo. I look forward to it every year!

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  45. I love the image of a symphony as applied to picture books. I can't wait to learn more over the coming month. Thank you both for sharing.

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  46. These are masterpieces, indeed! Thank you...

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  47. Such gorgeous books - with their expert use of language, wonderful illustrations and needed messages. What a way to start the month! looking forward to reading all these amazing mentor texts.

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  48. What a great way to kick off the month! My local library didn't have all the book selections but enough of them for me to get a feel of what I need to be looking for in the books I DO have. Let the reading and researching begin!!

    Great post!

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  49. I'm excited for Day 1 of ReFoReMo! These are some wonderful mentor texts. I recently read SWASHBY AND THE SEA for the first time, and I fell in love with it. I also adore the Little Blue Truck series, particularly GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK for the way they sound when read aloud, plus the warmth of the messages and the adorable illustrations.

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  50. Great start. Enjoyed reading these books and I love alliterative language!

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  51. Wow! What a great way to start off ReFoReMo! Fantastic post!

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  52. Thanks for the extensive commentary and video. I was only able to get about half the books and your explanations help me understand what I could not read for myself. Great selections.

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  53. It was so wonderful to read lyrical books in different genres. I really enjoyed this group of musical texts. I loved Swashby by the Sea by Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal. I loved how the sea came to life and converted Swashby's messages into invitations. I also really enjoyed Saturday by Oge Mora. The pace or rhythm of the story matched the actions of the main characters as they tried to cram so many special events into their Saturday. As a former school librarian I could just imagine the response of students to these lyrical texts. I could also hear them Moooooing along with Mootilda in Mootilda's Bad Mood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call, illustrated by Claudia Ranucci and enjoying the playful language of the book. I enjoyed these mentor texts very much!

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    1. Hooray! I'm so glad you enjoyed the books, especially MOOTILDA :)

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  54. Not sure if my comment posted...so trying again. This is my first year and am excited to participate ... have my learning cap on. Being new at this I’m actually learning everyday. Looking forward to reading some great books and the takeaways from each one I read! Dozens of Doughnuts is definitely on my “to purchase” list for my grand kiddos! No higher praise, right!? Happy reading, everyone!

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  56. Thanks for this inspiring post!

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  57. What outstanding examples! Thank you, Carrie and Kirsti.

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  58. Even if you read a lot of picture books there are always ones you miss. I loved Swashby and Dozens of Doughnuts, as well as the powerful beauty in the words of I Talk Like a River. As I read I am trying to decide..lyrical or poetic. A large grey area. I think it is the word choice and specific placement of the words that cause the reader to conjure up such powerful images. I was thinking of the book, Last Stop on Market Street as another possible example.

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  59. I loved the book choices. I found that when I took out the illustrations and copied the text, that it was a more intense study. Thank you!

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  60. What great beat to start on.
    One of my favorite arrangements is A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey. So many stunning notes.

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    1. OOh, I love that book. I bought it after reading it online.

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  61. Keeping it old school with The gorgeous writing and rhythm of Where The Wild Things Are.

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  62. Kirsti and Carrie, thank you so much for what is going to be another fabulous year with a line-up of stellar guests. The book suggestions in this post are great and I LOVED the singalong. (Kirsti's shirt is fab. Love the commitment.)

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  63. I loved Dozens of Doughnuts and Swashby. I haven't been able to get my hands on any of the others. I Talk like a River sounds intriguing and helpful for many of my students!

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  64. Harmonious collaborative masterpieces" is an excellent way to describe these! Aaron Becker's You Are Light (lyrical board book) is one for me.

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    1. Oooh. YOU ARE LIGHT is one of my favorite BB ever! Did you happen to catch the Picture Book Look interview of Aaron, his editor and book designer? It's found on any podcast ap :)

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  65. Wonderful book selection and post! Great start for my first ReFoReMo.

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  66. Swashby by the Sea is what instantly comes to mind. It inspires me to think outside of the box. My children love trying to sound out what word the sea will change his message to, and the story itself has such a beautiful rhythm.

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  67. Thanks Kirsti and Carrie for the great kickoff to ReFoReMo. I loved the music in these mentor texts, and retyped the text from several for my ever-growing file of favorite texts to study. I discovered the magic of a personified sea in Swashby in late January, so I was happy to see it on your list for others to enjoy.

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  68. I love so many of these books in this post! One of my favorite recent harmonious collaborations between author and illustrator is Outside In by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Cindy Derby. They didn't talk to each other at all about how the illustrations should reflect and extend the text, but their partnership made magic!

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  69. Looking forward to reading and learning with this group. Great post! Thank you.

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  70. WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul is so lovely and lyrical. I also love Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation Carrie and Kristi!

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  71. Outside, Inside and Talk Like a River are recent ones I checked out and read. They changed me and made me think about my world differently.

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  72. These are fabulous mentor texts, thank you! I have been reading them aloud with my kids and we especially loved Swashby and the Sea! I will definitely type some up to really get a feel for the flow in a more objective way.

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  73. What a great list to get us started today! Swashby and the Sea is a favorite! I had read a number of these 10 books before and they all rank high on my Goodreads list for their harmonies. So excited by this first day!! Some others of my favorite "books that sing" are Yellow Time by Lauren Stringer ("Just before yellow time, the air smells different. Like wet mud and dry grass with a sprinkle of sugar."), Ode to an Onion--Pablo Neruda and His Muse by Alexandria Giardino ("As soon as he cut the onion, its earthy scent filled the air, making Pablo think of the garden, of the fennel struggling for sunlight, and the garlic longing for roses." And the art! Oh my, the ART in this book is gorgeous!), and Outside in by Deborah Underwood, which I don't have on hand to quote, but it is a wonderful collaboration of art and text! Happy reading, everyone!

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    1. Oooh! I can't wait to read your recommendations! I've only read OUTSIDE which I agree is wonderful!

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    2. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do! 😊

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  74. Thanks for a great first post! Many favorites represented. I would also add A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano. (Really anything by Julie F.!) Looking forward to a great month.

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  75. What a wonderful post to start March off right! You two outdid yourselves. Thanks so much.

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  76. Loved all these amazing books! I especially love SATURDAY for its beautiful story but also for all the lyrical/poetic elements he uses. So masterful and yet seemless. Another book I loved recently that uses metaphor and gorgeous illustrations to create harmony is FINDING WILD. Also ONE DARK BIRD. So excited for this month! Thank you so much!

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  77. I'm channeling your positivity today! "This POST is a beautiful empathetic symphony filled with lyricism, poetry, and imagery. Thank you, Carrie and Kirsti, for bringing my imagination online with your terrific examples of engaging mentor texts.

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    1. Thank you, Charlotte. We're glad you're part of the ReFoReMo family!

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  78. You chose some great books to share in this first post. Thank you both for the #amwriting inspiration!

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  79. Fantastic books to begin 2021 ReFoMo! So musical and thought provoking.

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  80. These sound like lovely picture books with which to begin. Can't wait till the arrive at the library!

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  81. What a inspiring start to the month, thank you. I found books I hadn't read previously. I must purchase I Talk Like a River!

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  82. Wonderful, wonderful books. Such a joy to research them. Thanks!

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  83. Harmony/Musicality is an inspiring category to begin the month. I Talk Like a River is so beautiful and thought-provoking. Mootilda's Bad Mood and the word-play is hysterical.

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  84. I enjoyed today's reading list and I loved how the review of each read was compared to music/a symphony....some really took a creative study to see the "harmony", but it worked. My favorite for today is 'Mootilda's Bad Mood'...when my 5 year old starts to grump, I suggest we go find it....she's usually giggly by the time we are done. I did listen to 'I Talk Like a River' and the author does an incredible job reading it.

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    1. Yes, due to the author's own speech struggles, it moves me to the core.

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  85. Looking forward to reading and learning from all these wonderful mentor texts. Another one of Beth Ferry's books that is a harmonious, collaborative masterpiece is THE SCARECROW, illustrated by The Fan Brothers.

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    1. Absolutely, we agree! We highlighted the Scarecrow last year a few times. Masterful!

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  86. Your comparison of good writing to a symphony orchestra really resonated with me since I have played in symphony orchestras for many years. My desire is to achieve that musical lyrical beautiful writing that brings a book to life. I’m enjoying reading so many examples of that.

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  88. Thank you for your insight here and on 12 x12 today. I am glad I found a version of I Talk Like A RIver with auditory read aloud so I could hear someone read it aloud and hear how the author felt when writing and talking the story. I enjoyed so many of today's titles and their details. Thanks for leading us to these.

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  89. Swashby and the Sea is my idea of a perfect book. Another favorite that's not mentioned here is Shawn Loves Sharks (Curtis Manley/Tracy Subisak).

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  90. What a great start to ReFoReMo! So many great mentor texts. Looking forward to reading the titles still to come from my library and to a great month!

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  91. Thanks so much for featuring Dozens of Doughnuts among these other amazing books - some of my recent favorites! ❤️

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  92. These books are all wonderful. I especially enjoyed Swish! - "And the game was never the same. It became nonstop give-it-all-you-got-to-win-it." I took my son to see the Harlem Globetrotters when he was 9 and they were fantastic.

    I also feel that "Bear Snores On" is a harmonious master piece.

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  93. Yaaaaayyy!!! Here we go! What a PERFECT way to start this wonderful month of learning and growing and appreciating picture books and those who create them!! Thank you!!!

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  94. Thanks for a fabulous start! My stacks are ready.

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  95. Great way to launch the month. i think Julie Fogliano understands harmony in writing, too. I am loving finding the harmonies in these picture books and look forward to applying what I learn to my own manuscripts.

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  96. I appreciated your pointing out poetic devices that led to the feeling of harmony.

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  97. Thank you for the great post!

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  98. This is so inspirational -- much appreciated.

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  99. What a great way to kick off ReFoReMo 2021! Thanks for the great mentor texts to study.

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  100. So much great stuff here to absorb!

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  101. I love how BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES turned an every day task (that is often unpleasant!) into lyricism and poetry! I also adore the book ANGUS ALL AGLOW by Heather Smith. It’s full of dazzling language and a beautiful message.

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  102. I wasn't able to get all of the books for today, but I enjoyed reading the titles I did have. Thanks for putting this great list together! I loved the powerful messages and themes in I am Farmer and Talk Like a River (so poetic and beautifully written). Mootilda's Bad Mood really came in handy this past weekend with my little ones and the musical text was fun to read aloud. And, yes, I read it with a cow voice--LOL. Swashby and the Sea was so lovely with all the long e sounds too.

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  103. Thanks for the inspiring examples- what a great start! One recent book that sings for me is Girl on a Motorcycle by Amy Novesky and Julie Morstad.

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  104. I'm obsessed with The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall. So fun to read out loud and so much useful information at the same time!
    ellen seal

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    1. Great, thanks for this recommendation! It will also be covered in some of the other presenters' posts, so it clearly hits lots of high notes. :)

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    2. Oh wait, I see your rec has another author, sorry for the quick overlook! Candace Fleming's books is the one I referred to. I will have to check out Kristen Hall's book, too!

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  105. Thanks for sharing samples of the text from each of these books! It helps as I haven't been able to read many of these first day books yet. Beautiful language.

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  106. The poetry of these books is inspiring in different ways. I love each of these books and regularly rely on SATURDAY, MOOTILDA, DOUGHNUTS, and SWASHBY as mentor texts. The others are gorgeous as well.

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  107. What a lovely, diverse selection of books to begin with. I especially loved Saturday, though the word play in Moo-tilda was also wonderful. I have recently loved fun word play in Bagels in Love as well. Thanks for a great start to the month!

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    1. Thanks for the extra "delicious" recommendation of Bagel in Love!

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  108. This is a fantastic post highlighting such powerful and carefully chosen language in each book.

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  109. I loved these books, especially Swashby by the Sea. They are so beautiful to read over and over, as one would listen to or sing a favorite song.

    My personal favorite would have to be The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. It is funny and very cleverly written.

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  110. I am enjoying reading your list of books and have finished nine so far. Great selections! I have loved reading "The Seven Silly Eaters" by Mary Ann Hoberman since I first found it. My grandson loves it, too! Great rhyme and repetition and story building to an exciting crescendo.

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  111. looking forward to this month of mentor texts! I've only read "I am Farmer" thus far - pretty amazing impact this farmer has had in his community! Can't wait to read the rest! :-)

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  112. I absolutely loved I Talk Like a River! Thanks so much for letting us know about the audio version read by the author.

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  113. This is a great analogy! I think I need to read more of Miranda Paul's books because I loved Water Is Water too. This is my first time doing ReFoReMo. Thank you so much for all this amazing content! (This is Erin Siska from her husband's computer.)

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  114. I am excited to be participating here. I love reading PBs.

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  115. These books sing! Love the music analogy!

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  116. This guided mentor text format is wonderful! Thank you for the deep reading, generous sharing, and journal entry role model. So glad I’m spending some of March right here!

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  117. Karma Wilson's bear books for one.
    I enjoyed Mootilda's Bad Mood. What a fun song you paired with it that put a smile on my face and a spring to my fingers on the keyboard.

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  118. Linda Kay ChavezMarch 1, 2021 at 7:02 PM

    SATURDAY, Just loved that opening! This post was AMAZING! So enjoyed reading all of it. So many ideas. Thank You!

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  119. A great start to a month of mentors! Loved the poetry and lyrical language in these stories.

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  120. Karma Wilson's Bear series is one of my all-time favorite series. She does such a spectacular job of making music with words and sounds.

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    1. Hm. I'll have to go back and figure out what I've done wrong that my name is not appearing. Kristin Sawyer

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    2. Are you using Chrome as your browser? That might help.

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  121. Hmm, trying again, tried to preview, it said "publishing" and disappeared :)

    Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (1995 so a bit old, but it did win a Caldecott and is such a special book)

    Thank you for this wonderful post, and the fabulous examples (I just used Swashby as a comp last week, coincidentally)

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  122. The beautiful lyrical language and soft illustrations in LIGHTS OUT captured by heart as did the imagery used in I TALK LIKE THE RIVER in how it effectively communicated the stuck words.

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  123. The beautiful lyrical language and soft illustrations in LIGHTS OUT captured by heart as did the imagery used in I TALK LIKE THE RIVER in how it effectively communicated the stuck words.

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  124. I love ALL THE WORLD by Liz Garton Scanlon as well as her counting book ONE DARK BIRD!

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  125. Killer examples,each different! Love the song and musical family & Corey too! I think kids will remember the song, and draw from it, and the book, as they are growing up. They will know what to do because of the book and song. Great work everyone!

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  126. The Napping House by Audrey Wood & Don Wood has always stayed in my head. I love that story style. Today's list was wonderful. Saturday by Oge Mora was my favorite. The Tag Lines stood out for me.

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    1. It's great to look back on a classic like The Napping House!

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  127. Your Name is a Song is one of my favorite harmonious read alouds (coming up soon!) and Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre

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  128. Laurie Seaford
    Oh my, what beautiful reads! To answer the question posed, I TALK LIKE A RIVER has gripped my heart. The author's lyrical use of words and imagery in making sttuttering come alive for the reader and in connecting nature to stuttering is brilliant. The world stutters too, and the boy finds comfort in that revelation.
    Yesterday, I might have answered BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET. So much communicated so lyrically with so few words.

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    1. Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Laurie!

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  129. So many incredible book titles—lyrical, heart-gripping, and awe-inspiring.
    The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry brought me to tears. The rhymes were soft and simple which made them all the more brilliant.

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  130. Wonderful kick-off to a great month! Kirsti, I keep meaning to tell you how much I adore Mootilda--your rhyming is fantastic!

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  131. So many great books here. I am still waiting for Bedtime for Sweet Creatures. Thanks Kirsti and Carrie conducting us through these harmonies.

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  132. Thank you for a wonderful kick-off. So many incredible books!

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  133. SATURDAY by Oge Mora is one of my most favorite picture books. I love how you are examining text and pictures in harmony with each other and in their musicality on their own. Thank you Kirsti & Carrie!

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  134. Bear Came Along is another example I love of collaboration and harmony. Thanks for a great start to the month.

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  135. I am having good luck getting e-books from my local library's electronic check out.

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  136. Great start to ReFoReMo. Looking forward to a month of incredible books.

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  137. The symphony of sounds has me swooning, I look forward to immersing myself in the lovely alliterative language of these perfect picture books. Thank you for organizing all of this❣️

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  138. KRISTI and CARRIE: HAPPY FIRST DAY OF REFOREMO, EVERYBODY!!! SO EXCITED!!! I just realized the sticker I placed on my calendar to remind me of today's start date TOTALLY MATCHES Kristi's MOOtilda! It was MEANT to be! I ADORE your book SO MUCH!!! CONGRATS!!! I am also a BIG FAN of Swashby and the Sea, which I read some weeks back. It's one of those tales that TRULY stays with you--forever. I LOVE how the Sea is brought to life just as much as the other characters in the tale, for a character she is! This makes such a SWEET connection the reader can feel. The rhythm of each of the books you presented is truly felt and SEEN as the text and illustrations work together SO BEAUTIFULLY to tell each story. THANK YOU for the INSPIRATION to study more mentor texts to help us convey the same "symphony" in our own work.

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  139. What a fabulous kick off post. Thank you Kristi and Carrie! Such beautiful books.

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  140. Here we go! I'm so excited to finally dig into the stack of picture books that has been growing on my desk.

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  141. Great post. Thank you.

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  142. I loved Saturday’s & Swashbys. They were both so sweet. What a great start to the month! One of my favorites is- My Papi Drives A Motorcycle

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  143. I loved Saturday’s & Swashbys. They were both so sweet. What a great start to the month! One of my favorites is- My Papi Drives A Motorcycle

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