My Friend is Sad

Last updated Thursday, January 31, 2008

Author: Mo Willems
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 1423102975
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2008

Synopsis: From In My Friend Is Sad, Gerald is down in the dumps. Piggie is determined to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and even a robot! But what does it take to make a sad elephant happy? The answer will make even pessimistic elephants smile.

Note to readers:
•  Suggestion: Have one reader be Piggie and the other reader be the Elephant Gerald. Act out the parts. This is a short book and you may have to read it several times.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who looks sad in the picture?
•  Why do you think he's sad?
•  What do you do to cheer up a friend?
•  What do you do to cheer yourself up?
•  Can a pig and an elephant be friends?
•  Can an elephant wear glasses?
•  Do you wear glasses? Why?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How do you know when your friends are sad?
•  Have your friends or family ever cheered you up? What did they do?
•  Why don't the clown, cowboy, and robot cheer Gerald up? (Have kids act out the clown, cowboy, and robot)
•  What makes Piggie and Gerald the Elephant good friends?
•  What makes a friend a "good" friend?
•  What have you and your friends done together?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Happy/Sad mask--Draw a happy elephant face on one side and a sad elephant face on the other side. Attach it to a popsicle stick and read the book again, having the kids show the happy side when Gerald is happy and the sad side when the Gerald is sad.
•  Make a Valentine's Day card for your friend or a family member. Include his or her favorite things (cowboys, clowns, robots...) and be sure to sign your name.
•  Bring Ahead option: Make Elephant and Pig puppets from paper bags. Have the kids act out the parts of the characters.

Special activities:
•  Activity: Play Duck, Duck, Goose but change it to Elephant, Elephant, Piggy. Sit in a circle. One person is "It/Elephant". The "It" person walks around the outside circle tapping each person on the head calling "Piggy". The "It" person then decides who he wants to be the next "It/Elephant" by tapping the person and calling "Elephant". The new Elephant" must chase the other person around the circle. If the "It" person reaches the new "Elephant's" spot before being tagged, the new "Goose/Elephant" becomes "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!