Bad Dog, Marley! Written by: John Grogan; Illustrated by: Richard Cowdrey
May 18, 2009 in Cowdrey, Richard, Elementary Educators, Grogan, John, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills Tags: , Bad Dog Marley, dog stories, John Grogan, Marley and Me, picture books, Richard Cowdrey
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Picture book for preschoolers through 2nd graders, contemporary
*Marley the dog as the main character
*Rating: Marley and Me meets the picture book format with roaring success! John Grogan’s book will delight dog lovers young and old.
Short, short summary: The happy family on Churchill Road buys a puppy named Marley. (If you’ve seen or read Marley and Me by John Grogan, this picture book is based on that story.) Marley is a puppy with a lot of spunk and a knack for getting into trouble. He eats off the table, climbs onto the counters, drinks out of the toilet, and chews up feather pillows. He hears, “Bad Dog, Marley” all the time, so he tries to be good. Finally, Mom has had enough of this bad dog, and she says that the family must get rid of Marley. So, Dad puts an ad in the newspaper, and some people come over to see Marley. He always greets them with his regular enthusiasm, and no one decides to take him home. Thank goodness–because one day when Mom is busy, Baby Louie gets into some trouble. It’s Marley to the rescue, and bye-bye to her bad dog status. John Grogan wrote a fun book for children, so they too can enjoy the story of Marley and Me.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. When you read Bad Dog, Marley! to your children or your students, they will want to share pet stories with you. Children LOVE to share their personal stories; but as you know, this can take up a huge chunk of class time. One way you can allow students to share their personal stories about their pets and save time is to ask students to draw a picture or write about their best memory of their pets (or the story they most want to tell.) Then as students are working, you can visit each table and ask students about their pictures. You can also allow students to share with each other in small groups. This way, students have “planned” what they will say, and they are also more involved in each other’s stories in smaller groups.
2. To go along with this book, ask a dog trainer to come in as a guest speaker. If you do not know a dog trainer, you could also contact someone from the Love on a Leash program to see if they could do a presentation in your classroom. Students will love to see dogs in action. If you homeschool your children, call your local Humane Society. They often conduct tours for small groups.
3. In Bad Dog, Marley, John Grogan presents us with the problem that Marley is so bad, he will have to be given to another family. So, the family’s solution is to find a new home for Marley. Ask students to brainstorm other solutions that the family could also try (especially since they decide to keep Marley after he helps Baby Louie). Use the terms “problem” and “solution” when you discuss these events in the story, so students are familiar with identifying problems and solutions in stories.
If you have used this book in your classroom or at home, please let us know what activities you did or discussions you had. For more information about children’s books and writing, check out Teaching Authors.