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The Great Fuzz Frenzy

Last updated Monday, June 9, 2008

Author: Janet Stevens
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0152046267
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Only the Stevens sisters could create such an over-the-top tale about fuzz. A big, red dog drops a green tennis ball down a prairie dog burrow, and a "fuzz reaction" erupts there. Everyone--except Big Bark--wants to twirl and swirl the stuff all over themselves, from head to toe. When the ball is plucked fuzzless, a fighting frenzy breaks out. After the feuding stops, the dogs discover Big Bark has snatched the goods and proclaimed himself "King of the Fuzz," a title short-lived when a hungry eagle plucks him up for lunch. Never fear, however: Big Bark lives on to bark another day. The mixed-media illustrations are classic Stevens, with the book's oversize format providing wide-angle close-ups and a good platform for both horizontal and vertical foldouts. Big Bark's bottle-cap hat and the dogs' farcical expressions play up the humor in the text, but it's the textured, chartreuse fuzz that steals the show. This fun-filled story demands to be read aloud.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What type of animals are on the cover?
•  What does “frenzy” mean?
•  What is the green, round object? (A tennis ball)
•  Look at the entire cover (front and back). Where do they live? Do they live alone?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know what a prairie dog is?
•  Do you know what “gutless” means?
•  Are the others afraid of Big Bark? What is on Big Bark’s head? (A bottle cap)
•  Why is Big Bark being mean and not playing with the fuzz? (Jealous)
•  What is a “fiesta”?
•  What is a “feud” or “fiasco”?
•  Do your friends have anything you would like? Do you ask to play with it or take it?
•  On the SWOOP page, stop and ask what they think happened. Notice the eagle on the previous page sitting on the tree behind Big Bark.
•  Who was/were the hero(s) of the story? (Pip Squeak and Big Bark) Why/how? Do you have to be big to be a superhero?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a prairie dog and use cotton balls to decorate the dog
•  Make a superhero costume for the prairie dog using cotton balls. (Like in the book)
•  Make a superhero costume–a mask for the face, a belt, wristbands or headband.

*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!