Black Dog


Written By: Levi Pinfold


Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Consider the front cover and illustrations throughout the book before beginning your read-through. Ask questions like these to encourage your child to make initial observations and predictions about the story:

What do you notice on the front cover?

What do you think will happen in this story?

Just from looking at the cover, what do you think is special about this dog? {If s/he has difficulties, bring his/her attention to the paw print in the snow}?

Do you think this dog is a pet? Who do you think the little girl is?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?


As You Read

Give each member of the Hope family a distinct voice that you can use throughout the story, making the story more audibly dynamic and entertaining for your child. Also, call out the segments of the story that have rhyming like the song that Small sings as she is being followed by the black dog. Encourage your child to come up with more words that can rhyme with the text. For example, when Mrs. and Mr. Hope say that Small could have been “munched” and “crunched” by the black dog, ask your child, “Can you think of some more words that rhyme with ‘munched’ and ‘crunched’?” Some examples include PUNCHED and BUNCHED.

Making Connections:

Help make the story more relatable for your child by asking if any of the events remind him/her of something that has happened in his/her own life experiences. For example, when the whole family tries to hide under the covers from the dog, ask, “Can you think of a time when you saw something really scary? What was it? What did you do? What do you think will happen in the story?” If you have a pet dog, let your child compare and contrast your dog with the one in the story by asking, “How is __________ similar to this dog? How are they different? Were you scared of _________ when we first got him/her? Why or why not?”


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

To ensure comprehension, ask your child these questions about the story you have just read:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

How did Mr. and Mrs. Hope, Adeline and Maurice react when they first saw the dog? How did Small react?

What did Small do when she went outside to face the dog?

What happened to the dog? How is that possible?

Small is a great example of how bravery can come in even the littlest packages. To get this across to your child, say, “Even though Small was the littlest member of the family, she was the only one that went out to face the dog. Why do you think she wasn’t afraid? Can you think of a time when you thought something was scary but it turned out not to be scary at all? A good example might be a big slide at a nearby park. While it used to be scary and big to your child, perhaps now it doesn’t seem so big at all.


Activity: Paw Print Stamp Art

Inspired by According to Kelly

paw print.jpg

Supplies: Light blue construction paper, paint, a paintbrush, a pen, scissors, glue, craft foam, and a piece of wood

  1. Make a homemade dog paw stamp and recreate the black dog’s footsteps in the snow outside the Hope family home. You can also use this stamp for art projects in the future!
  2. On your craft foam, draw one wide triangle with curved angles and four smaller ovals. Cut them out and glue them onto a piece of wood in the shape of a dog’s paw.  
  3. While the glue is drying, begin painting your scene. Turn your construction paper horizontally and have your child paint the bottom half of the sheet white. S/he can also draw scenery like trees, a house, etc.
  4. Once both the white paint and the glued stamp have dried, use the stamp to make gray paw prints in the show. Then draw Small and her family to complete your picture!


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