Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Stray Dog 
by Marc Simont  

Award: Caldecott Honor

A fun story about a family enjoying a beautiful picnic day in the park outside the city.  

Book Talk: 
A stray dog is attracted by the family sounds….and the smell of hot dogs on the grill no doubt.  The children immediately start to play fun games with him: fetch, leap frog AND they give him a name: Willy.
The dog and boy and girl play happily all afternoon, then it is time to go home. The kids beg the parents to take the lovable  dog home, but the parents say no.

ALL week long, the sweet, adorable, playful, lovable dog invades each member of the family’s thoughts—causing them to do clumsy and silly things.

The next scene is a week later and we find the family back at the same exact spot with another picnic—looking and longing for Willy to return.  He does—-but runs by them in a hurry as he is being pursued by the dogcatcher!!

The boy and girl come to Willy’s rescue in a very clever way—-and Willy ends up with the family settling in as if he had always belonged there.

Favorite lines from the book: “The boy took off his belt. “Here’s his collar,” he said. The girl took off her hair ribbon. ‘Here’s his leash,” she said.

The text is simple in this text making it an excellent picture book for grades Pre-K to Grade 1.  The illustrations are wonderful— depicting happy kids doing kid-type stuff (standing on the bench at the picnic table to eat, etc) and important details are highlighted with color ( the family’s red car in the dark, drab, brown, busy city)  The family is not given names- only ‘the boy’ and ‘the girl’.  

The only named character is the most important—Willy, the dog.

Suggested Uses as A Mentor Text:
Genre: Realistic Fiction   
Reading Workshop comprehension strategies:  Questioning, Connecting, Summarizing
Writing Workshop Genre:  Narrative, Memoir (possible)
Curricular connections / themes: Pets, Families,  Illustration

Short biography on Marc Simont's life and his contributions to children's literature:

Awards: Caldecott Honor 2001.

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