Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Douglas

Hargreaves, G.N. (Author/Illustrator)
Egmont 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2011
ISBN: 9781405257275 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

While other dogs do dog things, Douglas prefers to tend to his stamp collection or have a spot of tea. There is one typically canine trait that Douglas mourns, however: he is unable to wag his tail. To be sure, Douglas is an extraordinary dog, albeit distinctly and uncannily uncanine. He can do almost anything—play the tuba, golf, ski. He thinks he could even fly, if he put his mind to it. When he confides his wagless-tail woes to a bird named Basil, the bird calls the dog’s bluff: flying might be fun, just the thing to get the old tail going. Basil finds Douglas the tallest tree he can and, while Douglas merely falls, the notion of a dog flapping his paws is enough to start them both giggling. Before he knows it, Douglas is wagging his tail, so hard in fact, that he helicopters off the ground.

The simple style of the illustrations shows Douglas engaging in rather sophisticated pursuits, like driving a scooter or playing chess. While most pages depict narrative context—Douglas getting mocked for his unwagging tail, Douglas chatting with Basil the bird—one two-page spread features 26 Douglases in colourful dapper suits: roasting sausages, watering a flower, playing the flute, scuba diving and more. (Some of these are reproduced on a sheet of stickers included with the book.) A few images are more impressionistic, such as the cityscape, in shades of purple, that the protagonist contemplates from the top of his would-be flying tree.

  •  

    Discuss what it means to have a talent. Does having a talent make you happy? Can you have talents that don’t make you happy?

  •  

    Write a journal from Douglas’s point of view as he goes about his daily life, meets the bird and learns to fly. Consider touching on his feelings in your writing.

  •  

    Douglas could have continued being discontented, but instead he chose to grow. How did he change? What does this tell you about how anyone can change?

  •  

    List Douglas’ talents. With a partner, put the talents into categories. Compare your work with that of other teams.

  •  

    Douglas has one thing that he really wants to do. What about you?

  •  

    “Douglas could do anything.” Find words and expressions for all Douglas’ talents. Think of different ways to sort them (alphabetical, arts, sports, etc.). In pairs, use a system to organize the talents. Compare your system with others.

  •  

    Create a poster of all the activities you do. Highlight those that make you happiest. Why is it healthy to like a variety of things?

  •  

    Douglas has one thing that he really wants to do. What about you?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being