Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Axle Annie by Robin Pulver

Axle Annie
By Robin Pulver
Illustrated by Tedd Arnold

About the book:
Winter packs a wallop in Burskyville. But it doesn’t matter how hard it snows, because Axle Annie is the best school bus driver who’s ever lived. “Do snow plows plow? Do tow trucks tow? Are school buses yellow? Of course I can make it up Tiger Hill,” she says and that’s why the schools never close. The laziest bus driver in town is not pleased at all so he comes up with a scheme to keep Axle Annie off the road. But he’s not counting on Axle Annie’s gumption. Of course she’ll make it up Tiger Hill- won’t she?

About the author:
Robin Pulver is the author of a number of pictures books including Punctuation Takes a Vacation and Axle Annie and the Speed Grump, as well as the popular Mrs. Toggle series. She lives in Pittsford, New York, and has visited many schools and libraries, inspiring this story and the author tips that follow from Harry Bookman.


How often do you get a snow day in your town? What’s the best part? Should everybody get a snow day even if they live in warmer climates?

Questions to consider:

  1. Describe Axle Annie.
  2. Why is Shifty Rhodes irritated with Axle Annie?
  3.  Why does the superintendent of schools always call Axle Annie when it snows?
  4. How does she answer?
  5. Who does Annie help on Tiger Hill?
  6. Would you like to be on the bus with Annie or Mr. Rhodes? Why?
  7. How does Shifty Rhodes try to get the schools to close?
  8. Why doesn’t his plan work?
  9. What consequences does he face for his actions?
  10.  What is named after Annie? Why?


Language Arts:

“Do Snowplows plow? Do tow trucks tow? Are school buses yellow?”

Write your own statements of fact like Axle Annie that best represent what you can do.  For example, “Do soccer balls roll?  Do tap shoes tap? Do horses gallop? Of course I can ___________!”  Then draw a picture of yourself doing whatever you are best at. Hang this gallery of gumption in the hallway or on a bulletin board!


Draw a map of your own bus route. Identify street names, railroad crossings, major intersections. Be sure that the top of your map faces North. Add important reference spots along the way like the library, gas station or town hall.

Visit this website to learn about the science of snow. Write at least five facts in your own words that you learned on one of the topics and illustrate their meaning.

Mix equal parts of non-menthol shaving cream with Elmer’s glue. Use this concoction to create puffy winter scenes on black or royal blue paper. Add food coloring to a small amount for details.

 6+ 1 Writing:  IDEAS

Read Axle Annie aloud to students and discuss where they think Robin Pulver got the idea for the book. Then, read aloud the interview questions and answers. Are you surprised by the answers?

Brainstorm a list of things that kids might face each year-
Riding the bus
A new teacher
Bully in the lunch line, etc.

This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer