By Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

Copyright Date: 2008

Published by: Candlewick Press

Lexile Reading Level: 540

Grade Level Recommendation: 3rd Grade

Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.6
Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

Suggested Delivery: Read Aloud

Key Vocabulary:

  • Shivered: to shake or tremble.
  • Quivered: to shake with slight but rapid motion.
  • Hesitated: to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear or indecision.
  • Airedale: specific dog breed.
  • Ridiculous: absurd, illogical.
  • Cozy: snugly, warm, and comfortable.

Reading Strategies:

  • Before: It would be a good idea to talk about the importance of creativity and having an imagination. The teacher can prompt the students by asking them to use their imagination while they listen to the story.
  • During: There are a lot of different characters in this story so a good way to help students remember them is to make a character chart.  This can be done as a class activity or individually. If it is done individually, make to pause when a new character is introduced.  It is important to remind students to think about how the characters are feeling in addition to how they are feeling as they listen to the story.
  • After: The teacher can end the story by handing each student a special pencil that they can use to create their own story.  Students can work on making their sketches and the teacher can encourage them to create their own “world” just like the pencil did in the story.

Writing Activity Suggestion: Give each student a piece of paper and instruct them to fold the paper in half the long way.  Then have them fold the paper into thirds.  Tell the students to unfold the paper. They should now each have one piece of paper with 6 different areas.  Have the students draw pictures in each box that will tell a story.  Once they students have finished drawing their pictures pair them up with another student in the class.  Have the students switch papers.  Tell them that they have to write a story based on their partners’ pictures.  Invite students to share both the pictures and the new story.  This can lead into a lesson on authors and illustrators.

Electronic Resources:

  • Penguin Publishing: Allen Ahlberg– This website is contains information on Allen Ahlberg.  I really like it because there is information about other books he has written.
  • The Pencil- Read Aloud– If you have students in the class who would like to hear the story again, this link will direct you to a YouTube read aloud. Students can follow along with the reader while listening to the story again.
  • Candlewick Press: Classroom Ideas – For an assortment of lesson ideas and activities follow this link.  This website also has resources for a couple of other books written by Allen Ahlberg.

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