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Mentor Text Monday: Mining Reycraft Books Part One

When a publisher is new on the scene, it's important to check out their books and get a sense of their content and style. To this end, I had bought up a pile of books from the publisher Reycraft Books for studying. Although Reycraft Books has now been around a few years, I hadn't had time to study them until now (since I moved twice and finally unpacked them). Better late, than never, I always say!

My first reading was Jujube and Willow, written by Youjun Sun and illustrated by Shifang Zhu(2019). I believe this book to be a translation of a children's book previously published in China. I also noted that it featured an adult main character -- although as it should be, he seemed to have child-like characteristics. He definitely has a child's logic as he perceived the Jujube tree he planted to be lonely, so he planted a willow tree beside it so they could be best friends. There's a hint that there will be a message about judging appearances and being humble, so we know there will be some takeaway. There are no more than about 25 words on each page, and the story moves forward nicely to a lesson learned and a satisfying resolution -- all with colorful, wonderfully-drawn art.

Next, I read A Pouch for Pocket by Ran Yi, with art by Yongheng Wei (2019). This fast-hopping story follows an adorably-illustrated little blue kangaroo as she explores the many uses of the pouch she has on her belly.

Clever and creative, she first uses it as as a flower vase, a fish bowl, and then a honey jar.

When none of these work out as she expected, she soon learns the true use of a pouch. This is also a child-friendly story with nice page turns and a sweet and satisfying ending that also makes this a good bedtime book.

Third in the bunch is Two Wool Gloves by Bo Jin, with art by LiLi. This story follows a father squirrel as he tries to find a home for his family when it snows. While the main character is not a child, each potential home reveals a different forest animal, which the reader will enjoy discovering.

When Father Squirrel finds a wool glove, he uses the resource wisely. But there's not enough room for Father. When the owner of the glove returns, this stranger's kindness makes all the difference to Father Squirrel and his family. It's a sweet book that introduces kindness and sacrifice for others.

Over all, I found these three selections to be child-friendly, with engaging art and accessible messages. They were short, sweet and to the point! I am getting a nice sense of what they are looking for in their children's picture books and see that story and messages are conveyed in a clear and concise way.

Check back for Part Two, where I will explore 3 or 4 more Reycraft Books books.

And don't forget to mark your calendars for next year's March On With Mentor Texts -- we can't wait and are already building a great line-up of Guest Authors!

Be sure to follow our blog so you don't miss out on our Mentor Text Monday posts and that you'll be first to sign up for March On! And if you're an Author with a traditionally published book coming out between last March and next year and want to get on our list of Guest Authors, e-mail me at:


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