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While We Were Out

Last updated Friday, June 29, 2007

Author: Ho Baek Lee
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 1929132441
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: While a family is visiting Grandma, their pet rabbit finds her way into the apartment through an unlocked terrace door. Left to explore, she enjoys all the comforts of human life, including a well-stocked fridge, popcorn and a video, dressing up, a good book, toys to play with, and finally a snooze in a warm bed. The uninvited guest wakes in time to retreat to the terrace, closing the door, innocently hoping her little visit will remain undetected-but what about the unmistakable evidence she has "dropped" behind? Lee has written a sweet, endearing story with just the right ending that will leave little listeners giggling. Illustrations in soft, washed-out grays alternate with others in full color. A mildly adventurous allegory with a bit of funny realism in the end.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think this story is about? Where do you think the bunny is going?
•  Does anyone know how to rollerskate/rollerblade? Did someone help you learn or did you teach yourself?
•  Do you have a pet? What kind? Is it allowed in the house?
•  What other story have you heard where a girl sneaks into a house when the family isn’t home? (Goldilocks and the Three Bears)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How did the bunny get into the house?
•  What do bunnies like to eat?
•  Can a bunny really sit at a table and eat like a person?
•  What kind of movies would a bunny like to watch?
•  What is a dressing table? What does the bunny find on the dressing table?
•  Do you ever play dress up? What do you like to dress up as? What is your favorite costume to try on?
•  When you’re home alone, what do you like to do?
•  What is your favorite toy?
•  Do you think that the bunny can put the skates on her feet? Why or why not?
•  What are chopsticks? What does the bunny use the chopsticks for? What do people use the chopsticks for? What else can people use instead of chopsticks? Have you ever used chopsticks? What for?
•  Do bunnies sleep in beds? If not, where do they sleep?
•  Will the family know that the bunny was in the house? How?
•  Can your pet do the same things that the bunny does?
•  Does your pet ever get in trouble while you are gone? What does it do?
•  Is it safe to go into an empty house when no one is home? What can happen?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a bunny in a skate. Bring ahead option: cotton balls. Tear apart a cotton ball and glue on the bunny for fur. Use half a cotton ball for the tail. Cut out chopsticks to put in the hands.
•  Draw a picture of your pet doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.
•  Make bunny ears. Cut a strip of paper about 2 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the forehead. Cut out two white ears and glue them to the band. Fit the band to your head.
•  Make a heart rabbit. Cut out one big heart for the face and two little hearts for the ears. Glue the little hearts upside down to the top of the big heart so the points are up. Color a face.

*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!