Animals in Literature

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The Way I Love You

The Way I Love You tells the story of a girl’s bond with her dog through simple words and pictures. This book can be used as an introduction to the special bonds and relationships that people can form with others and animals. A discussion on how to safely interact with dogs can also be had with this book.

Why use this book?

  • Highlights the strong connection and relationships people have with animals, known as the human-animal bond.

Animal Welfare Consideration:

  • The girl is seen hugging the dog in a few illustrations. While this is a common portrayal in many picture books, most dogs (even your family pet) are probably not comfortable being hugged. When dogs feel uncomfortable there is a potential for them to bite.

Ask your students:

  • What is this story about?
  • What did you like most about this book?
  • How did this story make you feel?
  • What other feelings might people have form this story?
  • How did the girl enjoy spending time with her dog? Do you have a pet? If so, how do you spend time with your pet? How do you spend time with your friends?
  • What types of things are good to share with a dog or pet? Although it looks as though the girl in the story is sharing a cookie, let students know that sharing people food isn’t the best for our pets. Lots of human food is poisonous to dogs ie: grapes, raisins, chocolate, and onion. What types of things can you share with a friend?
  • The girl says the dog is her best friend. Do you have a best friend? What make a good friend? How can you make new friends?
  • What do you think the girl and her dog are playing when they are pretending? What types of things do you pretend to do? Do you think the dog likes to be dressed up?
  • The girl says, “I love the way you tell me things.” What do you think the dog tells her? Do you think a dog can really tell you things? How?
  • Do you have any questions you would like to ask the girl in the story?
  • Compare this story to other stories about pets. Have students share their preferences and explain why.
  • Re-read the story and have students count the number of times “that’s the way I love you” is used in the story (6).


  • Pre-Reading Activity – Read the title to the students and have students look at the front cover of the book. Ask students:
    • What do you think the girl might be thinking?
    • How do you think the dog is feelings?
    • What do you think the story will be about?
    • How do the title and the picture help us to understand what the story might be about?
  • Matching Words – Write the following words on the board. Using two columns, have students draw a line to connect the words that start with the same letter. Have students identify the sound produced by the first letter of each word and name other words that begin with the same sound.
    • Column 1: play, tell, best, share, come, friend
    • Column 2: smile, back, things, pretend, fast, care
  • Rhyme Time – Have students identify rhyming words from the story, such as: friend/pretend, how/now, share/care/there. EXTENSION: Have students suggest other rhyming words with the above list. Use themes such as animal words that thyme with the above list, such as: share/care/there: bear, hare, mare or how/now: cow, sow
  • Copy Words – Have students choose significant words from the story and have a scribe write them out so students can copy them. Students can then illustrate the words.
  • Matching – Have students match the phrases to the dog picture, fitting them into the boxes below each photo. Download, print and cut out the photos and phrases here. The phrases are:
    • You run so fast
    • We always share
    • We both pretend
    • Jump so high
    • Smile your smile
  • New Book Cover – Ask students to draw a cover for the book that goes with the title, The Way I Love You. We show love to our pets by providing them with the things they need! Mention that dogs typically don’t like being hugged, despite this being shown in the book. Although people like to give and receive hugs, it is not a natural expression for dogs. Most dogs prefer being petted instead.

Additional Resources Related to Book:

  • For additional information on dog safety (reading dog body language, safely greeting a dog, etc.) visit The Family Dog website


David Bedford and Ann James, 2004


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