Animals in Literature

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Small in the City


Small in the city by the award winning illustrator, Sydney Smith follows a young person venturing out in an urban environment providing advice to someone on how to stay safe – including suggestions on the safe passages, places to avoid, the kind people, and the good spots to warm up. The book has a twist ending that will have you re-reading the book for new meaning.

Why use this book?

  • Beautiful illustrations that enrich the text of the story
  • Explores the concept of being lost
  • Builds empathy for animals and people

Ask your students

  • What do you think it means to be “small in the city”?
  • Before showing the very last image of paw prints in the snow, ask: What do you think the story is about? Who is the young person giving advice to?
  • Then, show them the final image, and ask: Does the picture change your mind of what you think the story is about?
  • The boy says “The streets are always busy. It can make your brain feel like there’s too much stuff in it.” Have you ever felt that? What are some strategies to cope with being overwhelmed?
  • They boy says “Three big dogs chase and bite each other in this yard. I would avoid the place… if I were you.” Not following his own advice, he passes the yard. Why do you think he does that?
  • Have you ever been lost? What was that like?
  • Do you think being lost would be scary for a pet?
  • What would you do if you were lost? Can animals do the same this as you? What can we do to help lost pets find their way home? (Identification including microchips, tags, licences)
  • What can we do to prevent pets from getting lost?


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