Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Very Busy Day by Diana Hendry - Teaching Ideas

This book is not only wonderfully written but the illustration {done by Jane Chapman} are so bright and creatively detailed. Your students will have fun looking at all of the human objects that Big Mouse and Little Mouse have used to make their special home. My favorite is the drain stop used as a tree swing...sooo cute!

Big Mouse has a lot of work to do and really wants some help. Unfortunately, Little Mouse is too busy thinking about his dream to help. As the day wears on Big Mouse is growing more frustrated with Little Mouse as he makes daisy chains, collects clovers, and lays around thinking about his dream. Finally, at the end of the day with Big Mouse tired and grumpy, Little Mouse comes running out of the kitchen with a surprise for Big Mouse. While Big Mouse was working and thinking that Little Mouse was doing nothing, he was really making Big Mouse a sun hat! Big Mouse was so surprised the he was no longer in a bad mood. He realized that Little Mouse really was doing something, making him a special sun hat.

Here is some more information that you might find useful.
Reading level: 2.5
Theme: behavior, social skills
Genre: animal stories

Suggested Vocabulary: grumbled, wheelbarrow, mopped his brow, indignantly, muttering angrily, annoyed

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {before} - What is going to keep the characters busy? Why do they have a wheelbarrow made out of clothespins? {during} - What was Big Mouse planting in the garden? Why wouldn't Little Mouse help Big Mouse? What is Little Mouse dreaming up? Why did Big Mouse dump Little Mouse out of the wheelbarrow? Where did Big Mouse and Little Mouse get all the stuff they have? Why is Little Mouse collecting bird feathers? {after} Why was Big Mouse not mad at Little Mouse any more? Why did Little Mouse make a sun hat for Big Mouse?
  • author's point of view - 3rd person point of view
  • author's purpose - entertain
  • beginning, middle, end - {beg.} Big Mouse was working in the garden and wanted Little Mouse's help. {mid} - Little Mouse would not help Big Mouse because he was busy doing something else. {end} Little Mouse gave Big Mouse the sun hat that he was making all day and Big Mouse was happy. They were so tired from all their work that they took a nap.
  • cause and effect - Why was Big Mouse upset with Little Mouse? because Little Mouse would not help Big Mouse in the garden. Why did Big Mouse dump Little Mouse out of the wheelbarrow? because he didn't want to push the weeds AND Little Mouse. Why did Big Mouse and Little Mouse take a nap? because they were both tired from all the work they did.
  • characterization - describe Big Mouse, describe Little Mouse
  • compare & contrast - compare Big Mouse to Little Mouse
  • connections - text-to-self - having to do all the work while a brother or sister does nothing. Working in the garden. Being tired after a long day of work. Text-to-text - connect this book to The Little Red Hen. They both ask others for help and don't get it.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - What feelings does Big Mouse have toward Little Mouse during the story? {clues from text} Big Mouse keeps asking Little Mouse to help and he wont. {what I know} I know that when I ask for help and no one helps me I get angry or frustrated. {conclusion} Big Mouse is angry and frustrated with Little Mouse during the story. How does Big Mouse feel about Little Muse at the end of the story? {clues from text} Little Mouse gives Big Mouse a new sun hat. {what I know} I know that when someone gives me a gift I get happy. {conclusion} I think Big Mouse is not angry at Little Mouse anymore because even though he didn't help him he was doing something, he made him a sun hat.
  • predict - What do you think Little Mouse was dreaming about? What do you think Little Mouse is doing?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Big Mouse wants some help in the garden and Little Mouse won't help him because he is busy doing something else. {solution} At the end of the story Little Mouse gives Big Mouse a sun hat that he had been working on all day. Big Mouse realized that Little Mouse was actually doing something.
  • sequencing - Big Mouse asked for help in the garden. Little Mouse said he was too busy to help. Big Mouse asked Little Mouse to plant some seeds. Little Mouse said that he was thinking about his dream. Big Mouse needed the wheelbarrow so he dumped Little Mouse out of it. Little Mouse made a daisy chain while Big Mouse picked up all the weeds. Little Mouse picked clover as Big Mouse dumped the weeds. Big Mouse wanted Little Mouse to help rake but Little Mouse was busy collecting feathers. Big Mouse wanted Little Mouse to help carry strawberries but Little Mouse ran into the kitchen to get something and didn't help. Little Mouse rushed out of the kitchen with a gift for Big Mouse, it was a sun hat he made for him. Big Mouse and Little Mouse were so tired from their busy day they both lay down to take a nap.
  • story elements - list title, author, theme, genre, characters, setting, BME.
  • summarize - {somebody} Big Mouse {wanted} wanted Little Mouse to help him in the garden {but} but Little Mouse was busy with something else {so} so Big Mouse was getting frustrated with Little Mouse. {then} Then Little Mouse came out of the kitchen with a surprise, a sun hat that he had made for Big Mouse during the day. {at the end} At the end of the day Big Mouse realized that Little Mouse was really busy all day so he was no longer mad at him. They were both so tired they took a nap.

I have created a few activities to go with this book...I hope it is something you will be able to use! You can download it for free from either my TpT or Teachers Notebook store.

This packet has also been featured on Classroom Freebies Manic Monday!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Happy teaching!


  1. Your book reviews are a dream . . . what a gift to teachers! Makes me wish I had a class of my own to use them in. Thanks for being SO thorough!

    Sending smiles,


  2. Thank you so much for every single book you post about. You are awesome. Love the freebies that go with this book.

    First Grade Delight

    1. Thank you Delighted, I hope your kiddos enjoy the activities.

  3. So glad I found your blog. I am your newest follower! Come visit me...



    1. Hi Jessica, I am glad you found me too! I will be by soon!! :)

  4. Love your site, what a find. I have been looking for a teacher's book that links books to strategies. Thank You!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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