All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. But a dog would damage the expensive carpets in Hal’s glamorous home, and his wealthy parents refuse to consider one. Then they discover Easy Pets, a convenient dog-rental agency. Terrier Fleck arrives on Hal’s birthday, but when he discovers that his dog must be returned, he runs away.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- The headteacher borrows Otto as a treat for the school. Write a letter to your headteacher asking if you can do the same.
- Hal writes a postcard to his grandparents after he gets the dog. Think about what this postcard might say and try to write it.
- The story of Greyfriars Bobby is mentioned in the book. Can you find out more about it?
- At one point in the story, the children and the dogs join a circus. Find out about the arguments for and against having animals in the circus and make a persuasive speech giving your own opinions.
- Research different breeds of dogs. Could you write a non-chronological report about a particular breed, or about dogs in general?
- Write a letter to a dog charity asking how people can help.
- Make a persuasive leaflet to encourage people to support dogs’ charities.
- Write an instructional poster to teach people how to look after their own dog.
- Write a persuasive advert for a particular dog in a dog shelter.
- Could you retell the story from the point of view of Fleck?
- Sprocket creates lots of rhymes for imaginary businesses, as part of his detective work. Could you make up rhymes for different businesses?
- Use the ‘Dog Personalities’ page (see Resources below) to think of words / phrases to describe the personalities / appearance of five different types of dogs.
- Use the ‘Dog Writing Paper’ pages (see Resources below) to describe different breeds of dogs or write an adventure about one of them.
- Could you write an adventure story about a group of dogs (or other animals)? How might the different personalities of the creatures influence the events of the story?
- The private detective charges £600 per hour with a final fee of £50,000. How long would it take him to earn £60,000? How long would it take him to earn £100,000?
- Investigate dogs and their particular abilities, e.g. sense of smell.
- Find out about the different roles that dogs have in different environments and communities.
- Plan and record a video guide which teaches people how to train a dog.
- The book has few illustrations. Could you draw some depicting different scenes?
- Draw what Hal’s new school uniform might look like.
- Look at pictures of different breeds of dogs. Can you sketch some of them?
- Draw and describe a new breed of dog.
- Look at an atlas and try to find some of the locations mentioned in the book. How could you travel between them? How far would the journey be? Can you trace the journey of the children and the dogs?
- Kevin and Colin come across a ‘bothy’. Can you find out what this is? Could you find the locations of more? Look at the Mountain Bothies Association site for more information.
- Mr Naryan is a Buddhist. Find out about Buddhism and the beliefs of the people who practice it.
- Hal thinks about times when you want something and then find that it was disappointing when you got it. Have you ever had that experience? Think about a time when you got something and it wasn’t disappointing. How did it make you feel?
- Imagine how Hal feels when he returns home to find that Fleck has gone. Think of words to describe his emotions. How might Fleck feel about the situation?
- Hal loses his trust in some people in the story. What does trust mean? How might they be able to regain his trust?
- Think about dog ownership and the different responsibilities that it brings.