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Whistle For Willie

Last updated Friday, June 27, 2008

Author: Ezra Jack Keats
Date of Publication: 1964
ISBN: 0670762407
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2008

Synopsis: From Borders.com: Peter wishes he could whistle. It would be so great. He knows that if he could make such a sound then his dog would certainly come running to him. He tries and he tries. Then finally it happens, he learns to whistle and sure enough, Willie, his dog, comes a running. The story offers much more by revealing Peter's daily activities and his warm and happy family.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who do you think Willie is? (Willie could be the boy or the dog, but in this story Willie is the name of the little boy's dog. The little boy's name is Peter.)
•  What is the little boy doing? (He is whistling for Willie.)
•  Do any of you have pets at home? If so, how do you get them to come to you?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Questions to ask throughout the book: What is happening here? What is Peter doing?
•  Where is Peter hiding? (Page 12)
•  Do you like to draw with sidewalk chalk? What things do you draw? (Page 14)
•  Do you ever try on your mother's or father's clothes like Peter? (Page 19)
•  Can you whistle?
•  How would you whistle to make your dog come to you?
•  How did Peter feel when he kept trying to whistle but no sound came out? Have you tried to accomplish a task without it working?
•  How did Peter feel when he finally reached his goal of learning to whistle? How did you feel when you practiced a task and it finally worked?
•  Peter's dog is a dachshund. What other types of dogs have you heard of?

Craft ideas:
•  They can draw a picture of a dog they know of. Help them label the picture with the dog's name.
•  They can create pages for a “Now I Can” book by illustrating accomplishments they were previously unable to do, but now can. Some examples are riding a bike, tying their shoes, or zipping their coat.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!