Inspired by a mentor text

In Up North at the Cabin by Marsha Chall, the narrator is a grandchild who spends the summers at the cabin with her grandparents. With wonderful simile, metaphor, specific nouns and verbs, hyphenated adjectives, and personification, the author takes the reader through her myriad experiences at the cabin. There are many “I” statements throughout the book, leading readers through the summer days from the beginning of her stay to the time when she must leave.  The powerful comparisons anchor images in the reader’s mind.

Up north at the cabin,
I am a smart angler.
Grandpa tried pink spinners, leeches, and dragonflies – but I know what fish like.

Up North at the Cabin
I bait my hook with peanut-butter-and-worm sandwiches, then jig my line and wait.



Up north at the cabin,
I am a great gray dolphin.
The lake is my ocean…

I wish I could share more with you, but the book is worth owning and could be used with second graders through middle school. Here is one of my examples from my notebook:

Up north in the Poconos,
I am a silent deer,
cautiously crossing the narrow road
as the sun sinks behind the edge of the lake
and spreads its golden light on the surface of the water.
Pines darken and become silhouettes just as
the glowing cabin lights suddenly appear in our view.

When Rose Cappelli and I co-facilitated Writing and Children’s Literature for the PA Writing & Literature Project, we often used this book as one of our mentor texts. Today, as I was rereading this picture book, I discovered a note written to me by one of the participants. Valerie wrote:


Dear Lynne,

Thank you for getting me started on ideas
for my own future children’s book. This story
has inspired me to write about my childhood
memories with my grandparents.



I hope this book inspires you to write summer memories and more!


I am participating in #SOL20. Thanks to twowritingteachers team for creating this space for writers to share and grow.

Slice of Life2


3 thoughts on “Inspired by a mentor text

  1. The strong metaphor of “I am a silent deer” brings about such a vivid image, Lynne. We all have childhood memories and they can easily be tapped for writing ideas. Writing is real and personal.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s