Piper is a gentle dog, courageous and anxious to please. It’s very unfortunate that he is bought by a grim man who tells him to ‘take care of the rabbits’. Piper babysits them beautifully, which is not what his new owner meant at all, and loses him his dinner. He runs away to the big city, and saves an old lady from being run over, but he hurts his leg doing it, and the old lady is still taken to hospital. It takes persistent passers-by to find him and take him to the vet, and all is well in the end.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Think of vocabulary to describe Mr. Jones and / or his crooked house on the hill.
- Rewrite the story from Piper’s point of view.
- Brutus has ‘teeth like knives’. Can you think of different similes to describe Piper / Mr. Jones / Brutus.
- Write the conversation that Brutus and Piper might have when they first meet.
- Piper is ‘terrified’ when Brutus arrives. Can you think of synonyms for ‘terrified’?
- Write a story about what happens to the old lady and Piper after the end of this story.
- Write a new story about a heroic dog (see Resources below).
- Think about the different types of habitat featured in the story, e.g. countryside, river, and city. How are they similar / different? What different types of animals live there?
- Use publishing software to make a poster that promotes this book to others.
- Make an animation that retells part of the story.
- Look at photos of dogs and use these as the starting point for your own drawings (see Resources below).
- Some of the illustrations are bright and colourful but others are dull and gloomy. Can you draw two illustrations? one of which is bright and another that is dull?
- Draw a picture of what it might look like inside Mr. Jones’ house.
- Choose an illustration and redraw it, showing what it might look like from Piper’s point of view.
- Draw a map showing the different places in the story.
- Piper ‘plunged across a river’ in the story. Can you find the location of any rivers near to where you live? Where do the rivers flow to / from?
- The city is full of smoke from cars and chimneys. Can you think of ways to encourage people to look after their environment?
- At the start of the story, Piper’s mummy gives him some rules that he has to obey. Think of rules that should be followed at home or at school.
- Think about how Piper felt when Mr. Jones came to collect him for the first time. How do you feel when you go somewhere new?
- Mr. Jones hits Piper with a big stick. Can you find out about different animal charities and how they help animals who need to be cared for.
- The old lady steps out into the road without looking. Can you make a poster to teach people about road safety?
- Piper is a hero when he saves the old lady’s life. Could you write a report about somebody that you think is a hero? Why are they so special?
- The old lady and Piper both have to have a bandage after their accident. Could you learn / teach somebody about first aid?