Curriculum Guide


Mary Newell DePalma
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers 2011
ISBN# 978-0-8028-5372-1

A mischievous little dinosaur gets into one scrape after another in this almost wordless book. Children have the opportunity to think about what they see, and imagine/articulate the story in words, music, movement, and sound. Students can consider cause-and-effect, ponder actions and responsibility, and imagine the further events in this silly story.

Pre-Reading Activities

  • Uh-Oh! is a story that involves cause and effect.
    Demonstrate cause and effect by playing a game of dominos.
    Talk about how one tile falling over causes the rest to fall.

  • Chant the rhyme 'Five little monkeys jumping on the bed!
    One fell off, and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor
    and the doctor said, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

  • Discuss this rhyme: will they continue? will they get hurt?
    Do the monkeys stop? are the monkeys bad? why or why not?

  • Ask if anyone has ever broken or spilled something by accident.
    What did they do? How did they feel? What were others' reactions?

English/Language Arts
Students have the opportunity to make up their own narrative for this story.
Focus lessons could include:

  • Sequence of events; describe a sequence of events in chronological order
    Sequence words; alternatives to the word 'then:' 'first', 'after that,' 'next'
  • Cause-and-effect; use connecting words like 'because,' 'since,' 'so'
  • Verbs: describe the action in the story with just the right action word.
    Brainstorm and list verbs; look them up in a thesaurus to find alternatives
  • Onomatopoeia: words that describe sounds, like 'clatter' and 'clash.'
    Examine the pictures and imagine what you might hear.
    Consider the materials that are making the sounds
    Listen to words when you say them out loud.
    Brainstorm and list sound words.
  • Adjectives: words that describe texture or physical properties
    Think about the messes in the story. How do they look? How do they feel?
    How would you describe them? grimy, wet, soapy, sharp, sticky, etc.
  • Words that describe emotion: how are all of the different dinosaurs feeling?
    Find more specific words than 'sad' or 'mad'
    Use a thesaurus. How about 'peeved', or' anxious?'
  • Identify suspense in the story. What is suspense?
    Use words, punctuation or rhythm to indicate suspense.
  • Use speech bubbles to add dialogue.
  • Tell the story orally.
    Use volume, gestures, facial expressions, pace and rhythm to add emphasis.
  • Continue the story. How does he get unstuck from the gum? What happens next?
    Make up your own cause-and-effect story

The little dinosaur's scrapes all involve some kind of practical physics.
You can discuss, speculate, and experiment with the science involved.

  • The dinosaur is jumping on the couch.
    Measure how high you jump.
    Do you think you could jump higher on a trampoline? why or why not?
    Is jumping on a couch more like jumping on the floor or on a trampoline?
  • The dinosaur's dishwasher overflows and the kitchen floods!
    Experiment: which kitchen objects float, which objects sink?
    Brainstorm ways to dry up the water. (drains, evaporation, absorption...)
    Absorption: what materials absorb? How/why? Sponge, cloth, paper towel, mop, etc.
    Soap bubbles--why does soap work? why does soap make bubbles?
  • The dinosaur makes messes with different materials: blocks, dirt, milk, soap, gum.
    Discuss the properties of different materials: solid, liquid, stretchy, sticky, etc.
    Investigate materials; mix up something stretchy or something sticky
  • How can the dinosaur clean up that sticky gum?
    ice, peanut butter, other?
    How/why does each method work?

Social Studies
Draw a map of the little dinosaur's house, with a dot where each part of the action happens, and then connect the dots with a dotted line to show the path of activity through the house in the story.

Draw a map of your own house. Think about something that happened there and draw a dotted-line map of the action.

All of the information in this story is in the pictures.

Ask the following questions about any of the illustrations:

  • What is happening in this picture?
  • What did you see that made you say that?
  • What do you see that tells you how the dinosaur is feeling?
  • How do you know what happens first and then what happens next?

Make an animation of part of the story, so it really does move.

Plan or make a 3-D interactive display to show one of the accidents happening.

  • Think about the mechanics involved in making the display.
    For example, attach a little model of the dinosaur to a spring and have him bump a tiny pillow onto a pile of tiny blocks
    or make a diorama of the kitchen scene in a plastic box; add water to float the dinosaur out of a window.

Make art with soap bubbles

Make up your own visual sequence that can be understood without words.

The story is drawn in a cartoon style.

  • Would the story seem different if it were illustrated by photographs of a toy dinosaur?
    How else could you illustrate this story?

There are many sounds pictured in the book. What do students hear when they look at the pictures?

  • Imagine that this book has a musical soundtrack. What would it sound like?
  • Describe the mood and action in the book
  • Listen to different kinds of music to see which would be appropriate for the story.
  • Discuss the relationship between the pictures in the story and the mood, rhythm, and pace of the music.
  • Select instruments to experiment with making music for the story.
    Form a 'band' with home-made instruments.
  • What kind of music would you make for this story?
    Would it be fast or slow?
    Would it be the same throughout or different in different places?
    Which instruments would you select and why?
  • Use melody to describe the story.
    Are the notes high or low?
    Think about major and minor notes and the mood they create.
  • Use rhythm to describe the story--
    Clap, tap, or beat a rhythm to describe the action and the mood
  • Listen for volume. Are some parts of the story loud? Are some parts quieter?
    Your soundtrack should reflect the variation in volume.
    how do you represent that in musical notation?
    discuss the symbols for crescendo and diminuendo, as well as the words piano and forte, etc.
  • Imagine the noises, or sound effects in the story.
    How would you make these noises?
    Brainstorm how to make sound effects. Consider materials and the qualities of sound.
  • Watch cartoons and short animations. Listen to the soundtracks.
    Perform and record a soundtrack for the book.

This could be a fun story to act out.
Look at the body language in the pictures to figure out the dialogue and the feelings.
Because this is a practically wordless book, it is like a silent movie.
How can you express the action and emotion without words?

  • Act it out, paying particular attention to facial expressions, large movements, and physical comedy
  • Choreograph the cause-and-effect actions in the book.
    For example, have students stand in a line or a circle and each perform one movement that contributes to a larger movement (like a 'wave' at a ballgame)--maybe one would squat down, the next jump up, the next tip over and bump several students who could tumble like blocks, etc.

Discuss motivation and actions:

    • Is the little dinosaur bad or good?
    • What does he do to make you think that?
    • How would you feel if you were this dinosaur's brother or sister?Mom or Dad?
    • How does the dinosaur feel?
    • Do you think this dinosaur is trying to get into trouble?
    • Do you think this dinosaur could avoid getting into trouble?

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