Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Hound from the Pound

The Hound from the Pound
By Jessica Swaim
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Teacher’s Guide:

About the book:
What happens when a blue basset hound lands the perfect home? Why he invites all his friends from the shelter to join him, of course! With one Ah-ROOOooooooo comes “the panters, the pointers, the givers of licks, the newspaper getters, the fetchers of sticks!”  Mary doesn’t know what to do with this hound house party. Grab your leash and your ticklish spot- you’ll be needing both!

About the author:
Jessica Swaim is a part time librarian by day and a full-time dog lover. She raised a golden retriever for the Canine Companions for Independence and often is a puppysitter for them too. She can even be seen dancing or running agility courses with her dog, Sprocket, in competitions and exhibitions. Jessica lives near Denver, Colorado with her husband, her dog, two lovebirds, and a hawk. Jessica wishes more than anything that she could adopt all the hounds from the pound just like Miss MacIntosh.

Author Interview

1.  Which breed of dog are you most like?

A terrier of some kind.  Although I'm not as high-strung as many Jack Russells, I am feisty, independent, stubborn, hard-working, playful, and tenacious.  I tend to guard my food and toys, I occasionally like to dig, and I often jump the fence in search of adventure.

2.  You make rhyme look so fun and easy!  Is it easy for you?

About as easy as climbing Everest, which thankfully I have never tried to do.  But, since the voice in my head often speaks in rhythm and rhyme, I am forced to listen.  At its worst, when rhyme-o-mania takes over my waking and sleeping hours, it feels like a mental illness, but possibly the most joyful and benign form.

3.  What advice do you have for young writers?

Read, read, read.  Look up unfamiliar words.  Work crossword puzzles.  Play Scrabble, madlibs, and other word games. Live every day with your eyes and your heart wide open.  Not only will you always have stories to tell, but you'll have a rich and rewarding life.

Questions to consider:
Brainstorm a list of things dogs like to do. Are they similar to the things you like to do too?

  1. Why does Miss MacIntosh decide to visit the animal shelter? What does she decide?
  2. Why is choosing the blue basset a mistake? What does he do when he first gets home?
  3. Describe what a canine trainer’s day might be like. Would you be interested in this type of career? Why or why not?
  4. Explain what the dogs did at Mary’s house. Which part is your favorite? Why?
  5. A refrain is a repetition of certain words in a song. What works like a refrain in this book?
  6. Who does Mary ask to help her control the dogs? How was this a “pawsitive” move?
  7. How did the dogs prove they could be good? How do you show your parents that you’re trying to be good?
  8. What does Sam ask Mary one day? Do you think they’ll be a good match? Why?
  9. Describe the wedding.
  10. Which illustration is your favorite? Why?

Across the Curriculum:

Language Arts:
Interview your dog (or a neighbors). Create questions and help translate your dog’s answers into English. Ask about his favorite activities and foods. Find out what a perfect day for him would be. If you can’t find a pet- interview an imaginary one!

6+1 Lesson: Word Choice
The Hound from the Pound is fun not just for it’s great story but because the language and word choice is so specific, so detailed. Each word was chosen for maximum impact! Reread the story and notice all the wordplay (like references to dog breeds) and puns that are included in the text.

Vocabulary: Research shows that kids who have great vocabularies are terrific readers. Find the following words in the book. Then, mark the chart that best explains how well you know the word.

New words:
Never seen before:
Could use in a sentence:
Could write a definition:










Sing to the favorite camp tune of “The Alligator is My Friend”

Blue the basset is my friend
he can be your friend, too.
I’d rather have him as my friend
than have him pee inside my shoe!

Blue the basset
Blue the basset
Blue the basset
Can be your friend
Can be your friend
Can be your friend TOO!

Service Learning:
Hold a fundraiser for the local shelter. It is a PAWsitive thing to do! Be creative as a class on how you might raise money or goods (like treats or toys for the dogs to play with while they are waiting for a new home). Perhaps you could host a pet talent show or simply send out fliers to the school about your doggie drive.

Count and graph how many dogs are on each page.

Create pet silhouettes like the end pages of the book.  Sketch your pet from the side (or if you’re brave try to get him to sit still while you shoot a bright light across him to make a shadow on the wall and then trace). After you’ve made your silhouette create a fancy frame out of paper for it. Underneath, on an index card, write details about the animal that you learned from the interview.