Author and Illustrator: David Biedrzycki
Age: preschool, early elementary
Description: A boy tried to help his pet dragon to not be afraid of Halloween.
- Perspective taking
- Body language
- Early prediction and inferencing
- Trying new experiences
- Narrative language
- Pretend play
- Social skills
- Halloween vocabulary
Why I like this book: The illustrations are incredible and keep kids engaged. An adorable story with a nice sequence of events for kids to retell and/or act out. There is also an Elvis reference, which I find awesome…I mean why not?
Ideas for use:
- A great story for labeling emotions and what characters could be thinking. Create a “thinking” bubble and hold over different characters heads to discuss. Point out and act out body language. Pair that with the character facial expression and discuss the context. There are great examples of “trickery” too- the dragon eventually dressed up as a dragon, but adults and kids think it’s a kid dressed as a dragon. A great opportunity for what do people “think” versus what is really happening.
- Encourage “detective eyes” to look for “clues” to help kids make inferences and predictions throughout the story. You can use the “remember” + “know” = “guess” framework for inferencing. For example in the first scene help students REMEMBER (see the clues) of the burned cake, small fire, burned clothing, soot on faces, holding fire extinguisher). What do they KNOW about dragons and fire? (they breathe fire, extinguishers are used to put out fires, etc.), helps us GUESS that the dragon accidentally burned down the cake and presents with his fiery breath!
- Have students act out the story. Someone can be a dragon, the boy in the story and the various other characters (parents, other kids, etc.). Make a visual plan with the sequence to keep kids on task.
- There are many opportunities for social skill discussions. A concept we work on constantly is “friends don’t make other friends wait.” The dragon has a tough time selecting his candy while trick or treating. The children in line are visibly frustrated. A good opportunity for discussion.
- Pair with the Zones of Regulation for different emotions are how our body feels. Lots of opportunity for discussion around regulation. The Dragon obviously is “scared” and even “terrified” which can be at different “zones” in this program. Discuss the differences and what tools could help.
- Pair with the Story Grammar Marker Program or App for identifying story grammar elements, and retelling the story. There is a clear “kickoff” and sequence of events.
- There are lots of examples of halloween vocabulary including werewolves, zombies, frankenstein, mummies, costumes, etc.
- There is lots of “subtle” humor throughout the story that can be pointed out if language skills allow for it.
Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP
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