A Tale of Two Beasts

Title: A Tale of Two Beasts

Author: Fiona Roberton

Description: A little girl rescues a strange beast (a squirrel) in the woods and brings him home to take care of him. The “beast” is not happy and escapes, and tells his own version of events. The book is broken up into 2 short stories to illustrate these two perspectives.

Goals/ objectives:

  • Perspective Taking (social language skills)
  • Narrative Language
  • Friendship Skills
  • Grammar: adjectives
  • Why Questions
  • OT/SLP goal: pretend play (ideation, motor planning, etc.) 

Why I like this story: The two perspectives are wonderful for discussion, and the story is really funny and entertaining. Kids of all ages will love this.

Ideas for use:

  • Have kids tell from the 2 different perspectives. Using a tool like the Story Grammar Marker from Mindwing Concepts to tell from the little girl’s perspective and then from the “beast’s” perspective. Discuss their different “kickoffs” (initiating events): little girl was walking through the woods when suddenly she saw a strange beast stuck up a tree…” vs. “I was hanging from my favorite tree singing happily to the birds  when I was ambushed…”
  • Great for social language discussion around how different interpretations of the same events can happen
  • Do Compare/Contrast of their perspectives, and even their lives. Tie in curriculum around habitats, and animal behavior. Discuss WHY the squirrel may not have liked what the girl was doing to him (i.e. bathing, walking on leash, dressing).
  • At the end of both “tales” they come to realize maybe the other wasn’t so “strange”- great for discussion with social groups about friendship and staying flexible and open minded.
  • Grammar: there are lots of wonderful examples of use of adjectives and adverbs to make sentences more complex and engaging: strange little beast, whining sadly, lovely bath, gorgeous new hat, beautiful house, etc. You could have students find synonyms for these words as well as compare to what adjective the “beast” would use (likely antonym).
  • In a group or dyad, act out the story! Would be great to have kids use various objects to represent the setting and events. What could be the woods? What could be the bath? Who can be the “beast?” Have students sequence events, narrate, negotiate roles and props, etc. Have them generate their own story with 2 perspectives, using the same frame of the story
  • Write their own version of story using different characters, but following this frame. Use apps like Book Creator to generate a story.

Submitted by Meghan Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Snow Friends

Title:  Snow Friends

Author: M. Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton

Description: A little bear wakes from his winter nap and has no one to enjoy the snow with. He decides to build a snowman to play with and meets some friends along the way.

Goals/ objectives:

Early inferencing and predicting
Why questions
animal/winter vocabulary (winter animals: bear, rabbit, otter)
social skills/friendship
body language

Why I like this story: A cute winter story that encourages friendship and thinking about others.
Ideas for use:

Great story for retelling and identifying the story grammar elements (characters, setting, initiating event, etc.). I pair with “Braidy” through Mindwing Concepts. A clear kickoff and plan (bear needs a friend so builds a snowman…)
use to discuss setting (woods, cave). Draw a big winter wood scene and have child add the various winter animals to retell the story.
Good for description as well as the pictures are textured….sparkly, shiny, white, cold snow. etc.
Great for early prediction/inferencing (e.g. What could be under the snow making noise? (rabbit in burrow), what will they use the sticks for?)
Good for modeling and exposing to “why” questions. Why do they need carrots? Why is the rabbit upset? Why is the bear lonely? etc.
Beautiful illustrations for body language and emotions. Have children act out the body language.
Good story to act out in a group or dyad . Use big exercise balls to act as snow balls. One child holds the bottom while the others, “make” the other snow ball. Encourage team work and communication as they roll the balls.
Discuss friendship and thinking of others. Why did the animals make another snowman? (They didn’t want the snowman to be lonely when they left to do other activities). How can they include others?

Submitted by Meghan G. Graham  M.S. CCC-SLP

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Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?

Title:  Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?

Author: Lois Grambling

Description: A little boy fantasizes about bringing a Woolly Mammoth named “Woolly” to the library. He provides many reasons why Wooly should be allowed, and predicts what would and could happen.



  • “Why” questions
  • Inferencing/prediction
  • Curriculum connections: extinct animals
  • Reading Body Language

Why I like this book: The illustrations are wonderful for kids and grownups alike. An entertaining story that can address many higher level language goals.

Ideas for this book:

  • The boy provides many predictions as to what might happen if Wooly comes to the library. Have students generate their own ideas. What could happen if a big animal comes to the library? How could he help? What problems might there be?
  • Lots of opportunity for both implicit and explicit “why” questions. For example,  Why does Woolly need slippers? (because he would make too much noise walking around the library; Why would Wooly be helpful at putting books away? (because he can reach the tall shelves), etc.
  • A great story to connect with expository text/media  around extinct animals. Here is a great example from Brainpop Jr
  • The illustrations are vivid and clear. Great examples of body language for children to interpret. How are characters feeling? Why? How can you tell? To assist with understanding pair with thinking and speaking bubbles
  • The story ends with the boy realizing that Wooly may be homesick if he came to live with the boy. Have students discuss/write about a time when they were homesick? How did they feel and why?
  • At the very end the boy suggests bringing another extinct animal (Saber Tooth Tiger) to the library. Have students create their own version of this story. Use a story generation app/software like the Story Patch App. Have then predict what could happen if that animal were to come to the library? Or to School?

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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do you

Do You Want To Be My Friend?

Title: Do You Want To Be My Friend?

Author:  Eric Carle

Description: A lonely mouse is looking for a friend to play with. He has to ask a lot of animals before he finds the right one.


  • Early Inferencing/Predicting
  • Possession
  • /s/ production (final word position)
  • Animal Vocabulary
  • Why Questions and Reasoning
  • Sequencing
  • Early Narrative/ Retelling
  • Friendship or Social Skills

Why I like this book: It’s a simple, mainly wordless book that kids love and can be adapted for a number of speech, language or social goals across ages.

Ideas for use:

  • Have children predict what animal is coming next. The tail of each animal is shown before the actual animal. Have them make guesses.
  • Great for possession. The Elephant‘s tail, the Seal’s tail, etc. Good for part/whole relationships as well.
  • Great for /s/ targets. Can adapt to word, sentence levels. Mouse, mice, all final position possession (snake’s, peacock’s, etc.)
  • Why questions and reasoning. WHY isn’t the horse a good fit for the mouse? (grumpy or too big) WHY isn’t the elephant a good fit for the mouse? (too big, would be hard to play with, etc.). WHY isn’t the snake a good fit? (he would eat the mouse!) Because it’s wordless, have kids predict what the animal is likely say to the mouse. Can add in tone of voice discussion as well.
  • Print pictures of the animals, or use toy animals and have children sequence the story. Add in temporal markers such as first, next, then, etc.
  • Have children “act” out the story. If in a group, many animals to re-enact. If not in a group, provide a toy mouse or have the child be the toy mouse and ask other “animals” to play in the accurate order.
  • For a social group- good for discussion around joining others play. It doesn’t always work out. Good to discuss this concept and what makes a good friend. The mouse doesn’t give up, and eventually finds a “good match” for a friend.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Picture 6

Little Blue Jackal

Title:  Little Blue Jackal

Author:  Niyaa educational apps

Description: A simple book in the form of an app. An Indian folk tale about a Jackal who gets into some trouble, and learns a valuable lesson.


  • Why Questions
  • Perspective taking
  • Narrative/Retelling
  • Auditory Comprehension
  • Reading Body language

Why I like this book: Cute story with some interactive properties that keeps engagement, but not too many that take away from the story or experience itself.

Ideas for use:

  • Lots of inferential based and explicitly stated “why” questions to ask students (e.g. Why is the jackal running away? Why do the animals think the blue Jackal should be the king?
  • For home programming- have parents read the story (or have the story read to the student- both are options) and answer the provided comprehension questions under “parent-child activity.”
  • Tie to science/animal/jungle curriculum- There is a page of “7 hidden facts about animals.” Rich with vocabulary (e.g. migrate, pride, stag, etc.).
  • Use “thinking bubbles” (actually make, use a white board). The Jackal has unintentionally tricked the other jungle animals. A great example of “trickery” and with one animal thinking one thing, and the other animals thinking something different. The story even has 2 bird characters throughout the story that give their own ideas/perspective. Would be great to model (the birds talk) or have them think about the story from the birds’ perspective.
  • A good story to pair with Mindwingconcepts for students to retell. A story with multiple initiating events.
  • Have students read body language of the characters. Imitate, have them attempt! Why are they feeling that way? How can you tell?
  • The author provides a “moral” at the end of the fable. For older students see if they can come up with a “moral” of the story. The author suggests “how we look does not change who we really are,” however, there are a number of other lessons that can be learned from this story (i.e. the negative effect of lying).
  • Have older students generate their own fable based on a moral
  • Find this app on iTunes

Disclaimer: all4mychild was provided with a promotional code for this app

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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santa's stuck

Santa’s Stuck

Title: Santa’s Stuck

Author: Rhonda Gowler Greene

Description:  Santa eats a few too many sweets and gets stuck in the chimney. His only hope of escaping is the team effort of his reindeer, and the pets of the house.


  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)
  • Speech Production (s-blends, /l/, /s/)
  • Early Narrative
  • Why Questions
  • Early Prediction
  • Reading Body Language

Why I like this book: For our friends who celebrate Christmas, it’s humorous with great illustrations that kids love. A good story that gets you into the holiday spirit.

Ideas for use:

  • Have children fill in the rhyming word when appropriate. Can they generate another word that rhymes?
  • Lots of repetition of “No luck, Santa’s stuck.” Great repetition of /s/, /st/ and /l/. The story is filled with lots of opportunity for all of these sounds.
  • An easy story to have children retell using the pictures. A simple sequence of events. Encourage temporal markers (first, next, then). Would be a good book for Mindwingconcepts. Clear “kick-off” (Santa gets stuck) and events, tie up.
  • Lots of opportunity for early “why” and reasoning. Why is Santa stuck? What do they have to be quiet? etc.
  • Great for teaching prediction. Each picture has a small circle illustration that often tells what is happening next.
  • Awesome illustrations for reading body language. What are the animals thinking? Feeling? Why?

Submitted by: Meghan G.Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Title: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Author: Judith Viorist

Description: Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair and that’s just the beginning. His entire day just isn’t going his way. He thinks he should move to Australia.


  • Narrative / Retelling
  • Why questions
  • Perspective taking
  • Social Language Skills
  • Reading Body Language

Why I like this book: An entertaining read that goes well with the Incredible 5 Point Scale. We use it in group to help us understand how “big” a problem really is as and how to handle it.

Ideas for use:

  • In a social group or social skill session use the 5 point scale and have children decide what kind of problem Alexander is having. Does his reaction match the situation (one of our Social Adventures app activities )
  • Use for retelling. Use the pictures to help kiddos remember what happened to Alexander. Incorporate temporal markers (first, then, later, after that), causals (because, so, etc.). Because so much happens to Alexander, it’s a good story to help with prioritizing. We don’t have to retell EVERYTHING that happens to Alexander…just pick a few of your favorites.
  • Help children interpret body language from the pictures. Add thinking bubbles for all the characters. How is Alexander’s reactions impacting others around him?
  • Have students write their own “Horrible Day.” Great for oral and written language goals. Add pictures. You could even write it on the Story Patch App and insert your own pictures.

Submitted by: Meghan G.Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Carl's bday

Carl’s Birthday

Title: Carl’s Birthday

Author: Alexandra Day

Description: A mother tries to surprise Carl her dog with a surprise party. However, Carl and Madeline ,the little girl, find out on their adventure through the house.


  • Narrative / Retelling  (Wordless book)
  • Speech production /k/ (Carl, cake, coat, collar)
  • Why questions
  • Perspective taking
  • Verbs

Why I like this book: A beautifully illustrated wordless book that works well across ages. I keep finding new ways to use it, and kids love it. If you’re a dog lover, the book is even more appealing.
I look forward to reviewing more of the series.

Ideas for use:

  • Given it’s a wordless book, it’s a great book for overall expressive language. Take turns on each page being the “author.” Focus on any number of language goals: subject + verb + object, causal, sub- verb agreement, etc.
  • Great for retelling. Incorporate “first, next, then, etc.”
  • Use for speech production, especially “fronting.”  “Carl goes…..” is a great repetative phrase to work on. Additonally there are other opportunities including “cake, kids, coat, collar, etc.”
  • Why questions: Have kiddos figure out Why is mommy cleaning up? Why are Carl and Madeline hiding under the table?” etc. Use the illustrations to help them generate their own answers.
  • Good for basic perspective taking. The mommy doesn’t know that Carl and Madeline are in the house? Why? Why don’t they want her to know they are there? Use cut out bubble thoughts to help with this concept.
  • Great for basic verbs as Carl and Madeline do many activities (run, eat, drink, play, hide, etc.). Easy to incorporate “he/she/they” as well.

Submitted by: Meghan G.Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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mommas magical purse

Momma’s Magical Purse

Title:  Momma’s Magical Purse

Author: Paulette Bogan

Age: Preschool and School Age

Description: Cousin David doesn’t believe that Momma’s purse is magical, and then it starts to rain…

• Simple Narrative Structure
• Perspective Taking/Theory of Mind
• Why? Questions
• Early Prediction
• Interpreting body language
• Sentence structure (“not”)

Why I like this book: The illustrations are wonderful. Children love them and they provide another set of learning opportunities. Also, we all know a David…

Ideas for use:
• Great for modeling sentence structure of ”It is not… .”
• Instead of reading the words of the story, show the pictures and work on “why?” questions. Why does Momma have a bandaid, an umbrella, etc? The body language in the illustrations is fantastic. Once you’ve set the stage, see how much of the story kids can figure out using just the pictures.
• After reading a couple pages, see if kids can guess what else might be in Momma’s purse.
• Ask kids what they think about the magic. Great for open-ended discussion
• In a group? Have kids take turns being Rachael, David and Momma. Focus on the feelings that each of them has throughout the story. Talk about how David’s perspective might have changed at the end.
• The page where David takes the bucket is great for Theory of Mind. Where does each of the characters “think” the bucket is? Who actually “knows” where it is?

Submitted by: Karen S Head M.S. CCC-SLP

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell

Title: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!

Author: Lucille Colondro

Age: Preschool, Early Elementary

Description: This story follows the same sequence as the little old lady who swallowed a fly. However, this is a beach theme, with the little old lady swallowing sand, water,  sea gulls and more.


  • Sequencing
  • Early Narrative Skills
  • Beach Vocabulary
  • Why questions
  • Phonological Awareness (rhyming)

Why I like this book: The absurdity of the story itself, always hooks kids.  Especially the “burping” and “throwing up” concept that happens in the story.  A great summer read, as many kids spend lots of time at the beach.

Ideas for use:

  • Photo copy the pages, and have children put the story in order after reading it.
  • Use cut out pictures from magazine, or Boardmaker software pictures of the various parts (shell, crab, seagull, etc.), and have them place in order as it happens in the story to keep them engaged
  • Highlight “why” questions when reading this story. Why did she swallow the crab? (so it will live in the shell!)
  • Have children attempt to fill in the blank of the rhyming word when reading (i.e. I don’t know why she swallowed the shell…she didn’t____ (tell)). See if they can generate other words that rhyme with the target.
  • A great story to discuss beach vocabulary, or water animals (crabs, lobsters, sharks, etc.). See if kids can generate what they would bring to the beach and what they would see. Use big paper and have them draw and generate a beach scene.
  • Do a simple beach craft with simple sequencing (i.e. make a crab or shell out of a paper plate, make a starfish and cover with ‘real” sand, etc.). Focus on the sequence and include temporal markers (first, next, then, etc.). You can even take digital pics of the child doing each of the steps. Print and send home- a great sequential and personal narrative task.
  • Create their own “There Was an Old Lady book…. Have them think of a “final” product like the sand castle (i.e. a birthday cake, a tree house, etc.) and what “parts” she would have to swallow (i.e. the flour, frosting, candles, etc.). Kids love to think of ways to have her “throw up” like in this story.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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