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The Incredible Journey

Last updated Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Author: Sheila Burnford
Illustrator: Carl Burger
Date of Publication: 1997
ISBN: 0613862368
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2021

Synopsis: Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love. The Incredible Journey is one of the great children's stories of all time - and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.

Note to readers:
•  This is book is a chapter book. The Incredible journey tells the story of three pets, a Labrador Retriever, Bull Terrier and Siamese cat, as they travel 300 miles through the Canadian wilderness.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you see on the cover of the book?
•  Why do you think they traveled 300 miles? What/who were they looking for?
•  What do you think will happen to them in the wilderness?


•  Bachelor - a man who is not and has not been married
•  Derelict - poor condition due to neglect
•  Grotesque - very ugly or distorted figure
•  Ravenous - extremely hungry
•  Ojibway - member of a North American Indian people native to the region around Lake Superior

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Review each picture. What do you think will happen next?
•  Can you name all the different types of animals they encountered in the book? (bear cub, wild geese, rabbit, squirrel, chipmunk, bird, beaver, porcupine, etc.)
•  Talk about your favorite animals. What makes them your favorite animal?
•  Do you think animals have feelings? Do they miss their family? Give reasons to support your answer.

Craft ideas:
•  Using the Zoom whiteboard together with the kids, create a thank you card for the Water Buffalo Club, then take a screen shot of it and email it to! Reading to Kids received a special, three-year grant from the Water Buffalo Club and we would like to share our sincere thanks by sending them digital thank you cards designed by our reading club participants.

You can incorporate their logo by downloading it from Read about using the Zoom whiteboard in the last pages of our Zoom Training Guide. You can learn how to take a screenshot at
•  # Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!
•  Maze: Help Tao find his way to Bodger and Luath

Special activities:
•  Screen share with the kids during the Zoom session this word search puzzle at The kids can use Zoom's screen annotation tools to draw circles around the words as they find them. You may need to help with words displayed vertically, diagonally, or backwards.

*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!