Do You Have a Dog? by Eileen Spinelli; Illustrations by Geraldo Valerio
June 11, 2012 in Books with Science Content, Books with Science Content, Books With Social Studies Content, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills, Research Ideas, Rhyming Words, Shared Writing, Spinelli Eileen, Writing Skills Tags: books about pets, books to go with social studies units, historical figures for kids, picture books about dogs
*Picture book for preschoolers through third graders, history?–you’ll see what I mean. . .
*Man’s best friend as main character/topic
*Rating: Do You Have a Dog? is one of those books I wish I would have written. Brilliant!
Short, short summary: This book starts out asking the reader if he/she has a dog and lists (in poem/rhyme) some qualities dogs might have. Then it goes on to tell about famous historical figures and their dogs. I love this idea. Included in the book are the dogs of Empress Josephine Bonaparte, Annie Oakley, Orville Wright, Billie Holiday, Admiral Richard Byrd, and of course that famous dog, Seaman who belonged to Meriwether Lewis (and more!). Each page gives a few facts about the dog and the person–the illustrations also help immensely to tell what each person is “famous” for and to show us their dog.
So what do I do with this book?
1. Use the poems and illustrations in this book as a starting point for students to research more about each individual. Give them extra points or some kind of bonus if they can find out any more about the person’s dog or other pets.
2. Try to find out other famous people–either historical or contemporary–and their dogs. When students find someone and do a little research, have them write up a page about the person and their dog. They can also illustrate it. Or do pets of presidents–our current president has a dog.
3. For younger children, talk about the characteristics of a dog. Compare and contrast dogs and cats using a Venn diagram. Allow children to choose which one they would rather have for a pet.