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Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters from Obedience School

Last updated Saturday, February 22, 2020

Author: Mark Teague
Illustrator: Mark Teague
Date of Publication: 2002
ISBN: 0439206634
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2004

Synopsis: A clever book for a clever dog, Dear Mrs. LaRue collects a series of guilt-inducing letters sent home by the cat-chasing, chicken-pie-eating Ike to his "cruel" owner Mrs. LaRue, whom he hopes will come to her senses and spring him from obedience school.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to camp? What was it like?
•  Have you ever been punished? How did it feel? Did you ever feel you were unjustly punished? Why?
•  Have you ever had a pet? What is it like to take care of a pet? What do you do to train your pet?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why were some pictures in black and white, and some in color? What does that signify?
•  What were the two points of view in the story? How were they different?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a brochure for the Brotweiler Canine Academy.
•  Pretend you are also a dog at the school - write a letter home telling your owner what it is like, and draw pictures to illustrate. Or, write a letter home from Reading to Kids, telling your family what it is like.

Special activities:
•  Write a song about life at the dog academy (use a simple song like Farmer in the Dell, brother john, or ring around the rosey, etc., etc.) as the melody) and have everyone sing it.

*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!