Friday, January 29, 2016

Learning from Picture Books: STOP, THIEF!

I have a soft spot for books about dogs, and this one is very cute. It is another one of the books nominated for this year’s Blue Spruce Award from the Ontario Library Association.

From the book jacket:

“Max,” said the farmer to his dog one day, “can you catch a thief?”

Of course he can! Max can catch anything! So off he runs to find the thief who’s been stealing all the carrots, berries, beans and cherries from the farmer’s fields.

Max is so eager to help that he convicts the first suspect he finds—a bug. But the bug escapes, and Max chases it all over the farm while the other animals “guard” the food. Unfortunately, Max is too busy eating and giving advice to realize they might be part of the problem!

Stop Thief was written by Heather Tekavec and illustrated by Pierre Pratt. It was published by Kids Can Press in 2014.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

I really liked the concept of this story! It’s so much fun the way the dog is focused on one reason for the problem but the illustrations and other animals are telling a very different story. I wanted to turn the pages to find out whether Max figures out what is really going on.

The illustrations in this story are lovely and give the animals, and especially Max the dog, a lot of personality.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

At first glance, there appears to be a lot of text on each page, but the big, clear illustrations make up for that because readers at the back of a group will be able to see what is happening while the story is read. The story moves along quickly and I think the humor would hold students’ attention. During a second read through, it would be fun to discuss what clues Max should be noticing.  

Themes: animals, gardens, farms

Ages: 4 – 8

Grades: preschool – grade 3

Follow-Up Activities:
  • Choose one of the animals in the story and find out about what they like to eat.
  • Make animal puppets using craft sticks and paper, and use them to retell the story.
  • Write the next page for the story – what do you think will happen when the animals wake up?
  • On her website, the author has some lovely sequencing cards that could be printed out to put in order for the story

To find more great picture books to read or to use in your classroom, visit author Susanna Leonard Hill's website for her theme-based summary of Perfect Picture Books posted by book-loving bloggers on Perfect Picture Book Friday.


  1. Kids generally love books where they spot the clues/answer before the protagonist! Sounds fun.

  2. I love this! And your activities and resources are amazing! Thank you, Andrea. ;)

    1. You're welcome! It's fun thinking up activities to go with the books -- and I also like doing a bit of research to find out more about the story or author.

  3. What an entertaining book. I have a grandchild who likes to spot clues. I love your activities, as they are always excellent.

  4. I'm a sucker for dog stories, too, and hadn't seen this one. Thanks for sharing it!


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