An Eric Carle Book Lesson on Character & Setting - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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An Eric Carle Book Lesson on Character & Setting

by Sheila Zagula November 28, 2017 2 min read

If you are looking for a quick lesson to review the Character and Setting icons with preschool and K students, check out the two versions of Do You Want To Be My Friend? by Eric Carle.

Do You Want to Be My Friend? book

In both versions, a mouse runs to many animals in search of a friend, asking, “Do you want to be my friend?” At the end of the story, he accomplishes his goal with an added surprise! For each animal the mouse asks, we are given a clue of seeing the animal’s tail and then the page turns to show the entire animal.

Inside Book 1
Inside Book 2

Miniature Book CoverThe miniature version has text which follows the same format throughout…The mouse asks each animal, “Do you want to be my friend?” The animals, up until the end, answer in the following manner (using the crocodile as an example): “‘No,’ said the crocodile with the bird on her back. So the mouse ran on.”

Book Inside 3
Book Inside 4

Larger Book CoverThe larger version referenced below has just the initial question by the mouse and the rest of the book is presented in picture format only.

I remember the excitement of our kindergarten students and how much they enjoyed seeing both versions at the same time! I read the text and held the smaller version while the classroom teacher turned the pages of the other book!

The surprise ending will surely delight your youngsters! Both of these books were then placed in the reading center where the children spent many happy days re-reading the books with one another!

The following is an easy follow-up activity for kindergarten students to reinforce the dialogue of the book and the character icon.

    1. Mouse Drawing Foldable picture
      Download Mouse Drawing Foldable
      Make a list of all the characters from the book with the children.
    2. Copy the download (at right) of the mouse asking, “Do you want to be my friend?”
    3. Fold the paper as shown.Sample Mouse Drawing Foldable

    4. Point to the character icon on Braidy doll and ask students to think of an animal (character) that was not used in the book. You may want to have simple animal books available to students for them to look through for ideas (a great way to bring in expository text).
    5. Model showing that the animal will be drawn on the inside of the fold with just the tail shown when folded. See the rabbit below as an example.
      How to Fold Mouse Drawing
    6. Students can then each take a turn to ask the question and have students guess what the character might be. If the students cannot guess by the tail shown, give additional clues!
    7. List of Characters pictureAs each child shares, put the character icon at the top of a piece of chart paper or whiteboard and underneath it, make a list of the characters chosen, as shown.
    8. We put our completed pictures into a class book and placed in our class library.
Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

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