Thursday, August 5, 2004
The Green Dog: A Mostly True Story
Staples, Suzanne Fisher. 2003. THE GREEN DOG: A MOSTLY TRUE STORY. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0374327793 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-4]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Written by the author of Newberry award winning SHABANU, Suzanne Fisher Staples writes a beautiful, sentimental tale of a little girl’s dreams. This heart warming and humorous story is taken from Suzanne’s own childhood. Swimsuits, sun and long lazy days by the lake are ahead of the first day of summer after forth grade, and this lonely little tomboy longs for the companionship of a loyal dog. She spends her time daydreaming about what she and her dog, she would call him Jeff, would do together, filling each moment of the long summer days. Through an amazing turn of events, the dog she has been dreaming of becomes her very own. It requires some maneuvering and convincing though, for her parents to permit Jeff to stay. And, the question becomes, will she be able to keep him out of trouble long enough so he will not be taken to the farm?
This story eloquently examines a little girl’s feelings as to how she relates to friends and peers as well as the various members of her family, such as siblings, parents and her Grandmother, affectionately referred to as Mema. Also noteworthy is the relationship between the mother and the father. An incident occurs in which the mother, though she does not agree with the action of her husband, does not disagree with him in front of the children. The parent’s unified front is exemplified throughout the story. These details and many more work together to add to the magical feeling combined to create the heartwarming sentimentality of this delightful story.
Lead a discussion and challenge the children to think of the themes throughout the book, such as man verses man, or man verse nature as relationships are forged and transformed. Ask the students for support from the story for their responses.
This is also a great book to initiate creative writing as the students consider their own hopes and dreams which they currently hold or have held. They might then consider how they would respond to various outcomes to their dreams. Then the students can share and discuss their stories with each other and or the class.
Other stories about love and hope:
Creech, Sharon. GRANNY TORRELLI MAKES SOUP. ISBN 0060292903
Dicamillo, Kate. TALE OF DESPEREAUX: BEING THE STORY OF A MOUSE, A PRINCESS, SOME SOUP, AND A SPOOL OF THREAD. ISBN 0763617229
By Kristi Mays