Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild

Written By: Mem Fox

Illustrated By: Marla Frazee

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations and Text:

Take a moment to explore the cover and illustrations and give your child a chance to make observations and predictions before beginning your read-through. Be sure to be reassuring and remind your child that this is what s/he thinks will happen, and that there isn’t any right or wrong answer. Ask questions like:

What does Harriet’s mother mean by “drive me wild”?

What do you think Harriet will do to drive her mother wild?

{Flip to the mother yelling} Can you tell how Harriet’s mother feels from her facial expression? Why do you think she feels that way?

As You Read

The more your child interacts with the story, the better so let him/her turn the pages as you go along. Say, “It’s time to turn the page, can you help me turn it?”. It is also important to let your child make predictions throughout the story. When you read, “There was a terrible silence”, ask, “What does Harriet’s mother usually do when Harriet does something wrong? What do you think will happen now?”

Making Connections:

Almost every child can relate to Harriet. Kids have lots of energy and are curious about everything, usually resulting in some kind of fiasco. Ask your child, “Can you think of a time when you made a mistake like spilling milk or making a big mess? What happened? Did you say you were sorry and mean it like Harriet?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Ask questions like these to conclude your reading and gauge your child’s comprehension of the story:

What were some of the things that Harriet did?

What does Harriet’s mom usually say?

What made her mother yell?

Why did they start laughing?

Have you ever had a bad day that was like the one that Harriet and her mother had? How did you feel that day?

Use this as an opportunity to discuss mistakes with your child by saying, “Everyone makes mistakes, even parents make mistakes and that’s ok because even if parents and kids get mad or sad, they still love each other.”

Activity: “Feelings Go Fish” and “Feelings Music”

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Feelings Go Fish

Inspired by File Folder Fun

Supplies: Printer, internet, scissors, self laminating sheets

This activity combines the story’s theme of feelings with the fun game of Go Fish!

  1. Print four copies of the templates and one copy of the Memory Pocket.
  2. Read each emotion and name for each fish so that your child can see each emotion that is being expressed. Ask him/her to tell you each emotion again once you’ve read them to ensure his/her understanding.
  3. Laminate the pages, cut them into individual cards, and then shuffle the cards.
  4. Next, pass out 7 cards to each person and let your child pull out any matches that s/he may have.
  5. Starting from the youngest child, play Go Fish by asking if any of the players have an “Angry Alex” or a “Happy Harry”. The first to get rid of all of his/her cards wins!

Feelings Music

Your child can also play music with Daniel Tiger that expresses his emotions. Use the keyboard and mouse to create music that emotes happiness, anger and sadness. S/he may even want to play this when feeling one of these emotions in the future!