Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Skunkdog

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Skunkdog, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Pierre Pratt is a heartwarming story of a pet dog, Dumpling, who is unable to smell.  Without a sense of smell, she was not able to relate to other dogs.  She had no friends and was lonely.  She moved to the country with her family and ended up with a very stinky friend, a skunk.  Although Dumpling’s family wasn’t happy about this, Dumpling and the skunk soon became best friends.  Dumpling’s family bought a lot of tomato juice.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used while teaching the five senses, the corresponding sensing organs and sensory descriptors used to describe common objects.  Students will be taught that humans have senses that allow them to seek, find, take in and react or respond to information in order to learn about their surroundings (VA SOL K.2 a,b).  Since we will be using this book with a kindergarten class, the teacher would need to read the book to the class.  As the book is being read, the teacher could ask the class questions about how a skunk smells and other smells that they like or like.   The teacher could then pass around some items such as coffee, chocolate, lemons, garlic or peppermint for the class to smell and describe.

Additional Resources

  • 5 senses lesson plan: Pop popcorn and have the students guess what it is by the sound and the smell.  Pass out the popcorn and have the students describe how it feels, looks and tastes.
  • Ten activities for teaching about the five senses: Activities such as feely bags, sound boxes and spicy gingerbread men.
  • Engaging science activity: Make colored, scented play-dough.  It encourages children to use several senses and it is really fun.

Book:   Skunkdog
Author: Emily Jenkins
Illustrator: Pierre Pratt
Publisher: Frances Foster Books
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 30 pages
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 978-0-374-37009-1