Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Great Fuzz Frenzy  
By Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Date published: 2005

 Awards: 2006 Wanda Gag Book Award, 2008 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award, 2006 Notable Children's Book in the English Language Arts….plus various states awards

The Great Fuzz Frenzy is a humorous story that will delight students as they follow the silly capers of a prairie dog town when a tennis ball is dropped in a hole leading to their underground burrow.

The Great Fuzz Frenzy is an excellent mentor to use to demonstrate several writing strategies:dialogue, writer’s voice, how to develop humor, use of strong verbs, as well as the use of onomatopoeia to name a few. 

An interesting strategy to use with older, more sophisticated student writers would be effective use of shortened sentences or incomplete sentences for emphasis by the author.

An example from the book (describing what the prairie dogs initially do with the fuzz):
They twisted it. Braided it. Danced and paraded it.
It was a fuzz frenzy.
A fuzz fiesta.
A fuzz fandangle.
The whole prairie was abuzz about fuzz.

When you read this story aloud, be sure to discuss the illustrations starting at the inside cover as it is through the initial illustrations that the story truly begins!  The illustrations throughout the book are delightful!

Book Talk
A golden retriever is playing catch with her owner and eyes a prairie dog at the entrance of its burrow. The retriever tries to play catch with this new interesting creature!

The dog drops the ball into the burrow hole and readers see it travel ALL the way down the tunnel leading to the base of the burrow. The authors cleverly turn the illustrations sideways and use a flap to help readers understand how far under the ground the ball journeys.

The ball is an object of great curiosity to the prairie dogs. Finally one of them, the smallest prairie dog of all named Pip Squeak, touches it and discovers it is soft and fuzzy!

Pip places a bit of fuzz on his head and the rest of the prairie dogs want some, too!  They all jump towards the ball and grab some fuzz.  They decorate themselves in all kinds of various and hilarious ways and have a wonderful time celebrating the wonders of the fuzz! 

Until the largest prairie dog of all, Big Bark, arrives.

As well as the prairie dog town from next door!  

Soon ALL the prairie dogs--brothers, sisters, cousins, friends--were fighting over the fuzz!

Some favorite lines:
Pulling, grabbing,  swiping, nabbing, poking, jabbing—it was war! War between the fuzzes and the fuzz-nots. Their peaceful town was a battleground.
It was a fuzz feud.
A fuzz fiasco.
“I started this,” moaned Pip Squeak. “I have to do something. Everyone! Stop! Stop fighting!”

The prairie dogs fight until all are exhausted. When they awake the fuzz is gone!  They learn that Big Bark has taken it, but he is then swept away by an eagle-who takes the fuzz from Big Bark. Big Bark wiggles free and is caught by the prairie dogs as he falls to earth.

They all agree that fuzz is trouble!

Some more favorite lines:
‘You saved me!” Big bark cried. “But I stole your fuzz! Now it’s gone forever.”
“Good, “  said Pip Squeak. “Fuzz is trouble, Right?”
“Yaaaaaay!” the crowd cheered. Friend hugged friend. Cousin hugged cousin. Dog hugged dog.
“We don’t need fuzz.” said Pip.

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Fiction/ Animal Fantasy
Reading Workshop Strategies: Summarizing, Maintaining Fluency, Predicting, Character Development, Visualizing.
Writing Workshop Genre and Strategies: Narrative, Fantasy writing ,Grammar (dialogue, strong verbs, descriptive words, onomatopoeia )

Janet Stevens' website: 
Susan Stevens Crummel's website:

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