Lula always likes me to go with her to the end of the lane. She loves a bit of a cuddle and a lick or two before the school bus comes. ‘Oh Russ’, she whispers. ‘A horse. It’s all I want for my birthday.’ And I’m thinking – ‘Scuse me, but what’s so great about a horse? Isn’t a dog good enough.’
Michael’s story is an energetic romp through a dog’s busy day on a farm. Russ, the sheepdog, herds sheep and cows and plots against Tigger, the farm cat. He covers Lula, his master’s daughter, with lots of slobbery licks, but when she gets a special birthday present, he worries that she might love it more than him-
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’ is a popular idiom. Do you know what it means? Can you find any other idioms?
- Can you write a new story with the title ‘It’s a Dog’s Life’? Use the writing template to present your new story (see Resources below).
- Look at the use of punctuation within the story. How many speech marks / full stops / commas can you find?
- The story is written from Russ’ point of view. Could you rewrite a sentence / section in the third person?
- Write a story from the point of view of another animal in the story, e.g. Tigger the cat or Russ’ friend Smarty.
- Write a story from the point of view of another working animal.
- Make a set of instructions to help somebody look after a pet dog (or another animal).
- Russ uses the word ‘Lovely’ a lot in the story. Can you find any synonyms for this word?
- Russ is a ‘champion chomper’. Can you think of any other examples of alliteration?
- Plan and hot-seat an interview with the author. Watch this video to find out more about how he became an author:
- Make a timetable showing all of the activities in Russ’ day.
- Russ has to work hard on the farm. Can you find out about other working animals? How do they help us?
- Find out about the different types of animals in the story. How are they similar / different?
- Make a storyboard to show the events of Russ’ day.
- Design a birthday card for Lula. Could you make a pop-up card?
- Use the illustrations as the starting point for creating your own animal and farm pictures / paintings.
- Can you find the locations of farms near to where you live? What do the farms produce?
- How does Russ feel when Lula first meets the horse?
- Write what Russ might say to the horse when they first meet. How would he feel?