Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Great Gracie Chase-Stop that dog! 

By Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Published: 2001

Awards: 2001 School Library Journal -- Starred Review (*)
2005 Young Hoosier Book Award -- Picture Book (Nominee)

If your students are dog-lovers and/or dog-owners—they will delightfully connect and thoroughly enjoy The Great Gracie Chase-Stop that Dog!  (Even if they aren’t dog-owners-the students will love this book!)  

The immediate engagement by your students will open the door for you to use The Great Gracie Chase as a mentor for reading and writing workshop. 

The Great Gracie Chase has such a strong, flowing, almost folksy, storytelling voice. In fact, when I read it, I can almost see and hear Cynthia Rylant before a group of people at a storytelling festival telling this story!  

I would use The Great Gracie Chase to examine ‘voice’ in writing workshop with older students. Students should note sentence structure, sentence length and how Rylant uses punctuation to create voice. Students should notice how this ‘storyteller's’ voice uses ‘internal thinking’ to let readers know what Gracie was thinking as she was running from the big crowd.The Great Gracie Chase also has a lead strung over the first several pages that draws students in and sets up the ‘drama’ of the chase. Another great example for older students—and a strong example to emphasis that the ‘lead’ of the story can go beyond the first sentence or two.

The Great Gracie Chase is perfect to use in reading workshop or in guided reading as well. Again, students can connect to a dog getting loose and trying to catch it. The storytelling voice will help fluency. Students can infer, as well as analyze the author’s craft.

Book Talk
Gracie, the little, round dog, loves living quietly in her house helping the bigger dog keep order, peace and quiet. Quiet is especially what little Gracie loves.  And everything  is normally quiet at her house…until the painters come!

Some favorite lines:
“When the painters arrived one day to the paint Gracie’s kitchen, she did not  like it! Here they came in a big, noisy truck. There they were at the door with their clingy ladders and big person voices!  There they were, dragging chairs across gracie’s quiet kitchen floor! Gracie watched them with her ears straight up in the air and she was not happy. She barked and barked and told them to go outside.”

Even though Gracie barked and barked to get rid of the painters—Gracie is the one set outside!

She then noticed a gate open and decided to escape—which is very unusual behavior for her.

But escape she did—-and as she ran, she soon gathered a large crowd that was following her—including the painters!  Gracie was not sure why she was running, but she did not like all the people following her—-so run she did!  The more Gracie ran, the more people gathered to chase her—and the more she ran.  It seemed endless!

FINALLY…..the people all wore out, pooped out and fell down….leaving Gracie with the quiet she was craving!

Gracie turned around, put her nose in the air with dignity and pride and strutted to her peaceful home….where the painters did not return!

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre:  Animal Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop Strategies: Connecting, Analyzing, Inferring, Summarizing, Fluency
Writing Workshop Genre and Strategies: Narrative, Personal Narrative, Small moment
Voice, Strong leads

Cynthia Rylant’s website:

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