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The Stray Dog

Last updated Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Author: Marc Simont
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0060289333
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2006

Synopsis: This heartwarming book tells the story of a picnicking family charmed by a stray dog. When their picnic ends, the family says good-bye to the dog and goes home. But they cannot forget him. A week later, they return for the dog?only to find that the dogcatcher is looking for him, too! Gracefully written and beautifully illustrated, this moving tale of a stray dog who finds a new home is based on a true story. Like the family in the book, children are bound to fall in love with the irresistible stray. Funny, poignant, and satisfying, The Stray Dog is being published on the 50th anniversary of the first children's book written and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Marc Simont.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What does ?stray? mean? Have you seen stray dogs? What happens to them?
•  Does your family ever go for a picnic? Where do you go? What do you do?
•  What do you do with your family on the weekends? Where do you go?
•  Do you have any pets? What kind? How do you take care of them? If you don?t have a pet, what kind of pet would you like to have?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  From the picture on the first page, what can you tell about where this story takes place?
•  What kinds of things do the children do with Willy?
•  Why can?t the children take Willy home? How do they feel? How do you think Willy feels?
•  How does the illustrator show that the family missed the dog? What happened throughout the week?
•  What happens when the family returns to the park?
•  How do the children feel when they see Willy again?
•  What would have happened to Willy if the children hadn?t been there?
•  Why do you think Willy is the only character in this story who has a name?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of Willy in his new home, or draw a picture of your own dog if you have one.
•  Make a dog puppet using construction paper or, if available, paper bags.

*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!