How Smudge Came tells the story of a woman who finds a stray dog that she takes to her group home. Not being allowed dogs in her home, Cindy must keep Smudge a secret which means taking him with her to a hospice where she works as a cleaner. A bond between Cindy and Smudge quickly forms, but when her secret is revealed, Smudge is quickly whisked away to a SPCA. Devastated, Cindy tries to get Smudge back, only to discover he has already been adopted.
Why use this book?
- Students have the opportunity to take the perspective of Cindy and relate to her feelings. Even though there are many differences among people, there are still many similarities that we share, including for many, a love of animals.
Ask your students:
- What is Cindy’s motivation for keeping the puppy?
- Why do you think Cindy sneaks the puppy into her room?
- How did the puppy get his name? How do you come up with names for your animals?
- What does “smudge” mean?
- Why do you think the hospice patient Jan is enamored with the puppy? Discuss how pets are often comforting for people, including the elderly and people with illnesses.
- Changing Perspective – As a class, begin a discussion reviewing the differences between first, second, and third person narration in stories. Then, ask students to discuss and determine the point of view the story is narrated in. Encourage students to give evidence to explain their thinking
- Next, brainstorm a list of main and supporting characters in the story. Finally, individually or in pairs, have students rewrite the story in first person from the perspective of a character from the list. Different character perspectives may include:
- Jan or Carmen: hospice residents
- A group home worker or resident
How Smudge Came is part of the AnimalTales program. Above, is a small selection of the discussion questions and activities that can be found in the Grade Five Teacher’s Guide. For additional discussion questions and activities request the FREE book-lending program for your class.
Additional Resources Related to Book:
- everylivingthing Podcast – Interview with Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy.