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MOWMT Day #21: Lynne Marie Mines French Mentor Texts

For the Love of France:

An Exercise in Mentor Text Persistence

by Lynne Marie

As a child, I had grown up reading many books that shared French culture from our family bookshelf.

For starters, there was the original 1950s version of Walt Disney's Cinderella, which has been reimagined and reissued in 2015 with story by Cynthia Rylant, and art by Mary Blair. This laid the foundation for not only my love of France and it's unique flair, but my passion for telling and/or fracturing fairy tales which exists to this day.

I will not list all the others out separately, but many of my favorite tales are among these: French Fairy Tales |

And of course, no childhood bookshelf was complete without Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. I read this again and again as many children did in those days.

This book did exactly what books should do -- it transported me to a place faraway that I could explore and enjoy, connected me with a character I identified with, presented a kid-friendly problem, and even allowed me to extract some take-away from the experience.

In 1998, when I started writing The Palace Rat, my latest fractured fairy tale from Yeehoo Press (coming 9/5/2023), there were not a lot of recent, traditionally-published mentor texts for picture books set in France to be found.

So I looked again to these classics, and while I revised and re-visioned this story, I embarked on journey to find any and all Mentor Texts that would count toward my goal of 50 - 100 Mentor Text per project.

To be honest, there were so few, so I was at a bit of a loss. I realized that The Palace Rat might be one of those books that would have a longer journey to find a publisher that had a place for it.

But I did not give up and here's one I found in 2004 -- Monsieur Saguette and his Baguette by Frank Asch.

Here's another. Moi and Marie Antoinette by Lynne Cullen, art by Amy Young -- this one I didn't find out about until I received a rejection from Bloomsbury Children's Books in 2003 saying, "while we like this project very much, we have recently acquired a book about a dog in Versailles."

Seriously, what are the odds? But almost three years later, a wonderful Mentor Text for The Palace Rat was born! Of course, I bought this book as soon as it was out! It ended up being not quite nearly the same as my fiction / folk tale retelling about the pampered pet of King Louis XVI (also set partly in Versailles), but still it was about a royal and a pet, and it did have mentor text food for thought. It also gave me hope that one day, my story will come to life as well.

So with so few true Mentor Texts (there were a few spare more, but we only highlight a few here), why am I writing about this topic? Is there any takeaway value to this post? Well yes! And here it is:

  1. Write what you know.

  2. Write what you are passionate about.

  3. Draw from experience.

  4. Always be on the lookout for Mentor Texts in any form.

  5. Never give up on a fresh idea for which you can't find any Mentor Texts!

Any book with good writing and great storytelling is a great Mentor Text for any and all books you are writing, regardless of topic or theme!

And it's important to note, that despite not finding the Mentor Texts I wanted / needed with regard to a story set in France, I found a great combined number of picture books that explored royalty, featured rats as main characters, explored acceptance as a resolution, and were retellings of City Mouse / Country Mouse or other well-told fractures.

So somehow as a result of being persistent, I found what I needed to find to tell the story I wanted to tell in the way a publisher could sell it. That is my wish for you, too!

My prizes for this post are, for one winner: a digital copy of The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project, the 2nd of my fractured fairy tale retellings, and for a second and third winner, a 1/2 hour Zoom Mentor Session with The Picture Book Mechanic. To be eligible for these prizes, please follow me on social media (share where) and do one of these two things. Share a picture book set in France or with a French Character, OR share a topic that you have had difficulty finding a Mentor Text for. Anyone who replies to these posts with a Mentor Text recommendation will get an extra entry for the drawing for each helpful recommendation.

BIO: Lynne Marie is the Owner/Director of,, and the Creator/Host of March On With Mentor Texts ( and Mentor Text Talk by Rate Your Story). She’s also the Co-Host of #SeasonsOfKidLit (, a Cybils Judge since 2016 ( and a Feature Columnist at Children’s Book Insider (

When she’s not traveling the world to mine story ideas, she lives in the heart of Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and a Chihuahua named Marlowe Charlotte (after a famous playwright and a famous author). Visit her Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland





AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE: Children's Author Lynne Marie



(1) Rate Your Story (@RateYourStory) / Twitter



Lynne Marie (Author of Moldilocks and the Three Scares) | Goodreads


NOTE: As you comment on each post, please note whether you have shared this post, bought the book for yourself or as a gift, whether you have followed our guest blogger or Rate Your Story on social media (and where), as well as whether you have left a review of the guest blogger's book (and where) for extra entries (for each show of support) and to be eligible for surprise prizes.

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