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The Dog Who Sang at the Opera



Last updated Thursday, February 21, 2008

Author: Marshall Izen and Jim West
Illustrator: Erika Oller
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0810949288
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: The true story of a dog who outsang a diva at the Metropolitan Opera! When Pasha, a vain wolfhound, gets a role at the opera house, she loves the limelight so much that she looks down her nose at Sluggo, a mutt clown dog. Lost in fantasies of herself as the true queen of the opera, Pasha begins to sing on stage! Reprimanded behind the scenes, Pasha finds that her only fans are Sluggo-and the newspaper that makes her, finally, the star she's always believed her-self to be.

Note to readers:
•  Here are some vocabularly words you may want to explain: rehearsal, breed, mutt, diva, acrobat, twirled, tightrope, teetered, wolfhound, aria, conductor, brava, performance, stagehand

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Can dogs sing?
•  Do you have a dog? Do you sing with it?
•  What tricks can your dog do?
•  Have you ever heard opera music?
•  What does it sound like?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why did Pasha stick her nose in the air?
•  Why are people wearing costumes?
•  Is Pasha excited to be in the opera?
•  Was Pasha nice to Sluggo when she met him? How do you think Sluggo felt?
•  Have you ever been in a play? Did the director tell you what to do?
•  Can dogs be queens?
•  What kind of costume was sluggo wearing? (Clown)
•  Have you ever been to the circus? Have you ever seen a clown, tightrope walkers, or acrobats doing flips?
•  Can dogs dream? Do dogs wear dresses, makeup, and high heeled shoes?
•  Was Pasha's owner, Shirley, angry that Pasha barked during the show? Was Pasha sad? How do you know?
•  Was the director angry at Pasha?
•  Did Sluggo cheer Pasha up? How?
•  Do you know how to say "thank you" in any other languages?
•  Did Pasha enjoy singing for all of the people at her house?
•  Are Pasha and Sluggo friends by the end of the book?
•  Do you think this is a true story? Can you believe that this is based on a true story?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw and cut out a Pasha dog or Sluggo dog. Make cut out clothes and accessories to add to the cutout.
•  Draw an opera stage/set. Cut out people, sluggo, and Pasha to add to the stage. Draw scenery to decorate the stage.

*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!