Friday, May 24, 2013

Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch - Teaching Ideas

Robert Munsch has done it again with this fun book about a family that delivers a baby at the zoo and accidentally brings home a baby alligator instead of their baby. Silliness ensues as they keep going back to the zoo and keep bringing home the wrong baby. Your students will love how each of the baby animals respond to being in the arms of humans. Finally at the end of the story the daughter comes to the rescue of her new baby brother. She goes to the zoo, finds her brother and brings him home.

Below are listed the skills, strategies and ideas that would work great with this book. You can pick and choose what your students need practice with and create a fun activity for them to practice the skill or strategy they need help with.

I have created a Main Idea Freebie to go along with this story.

Reading level: 3.5
Theme/subject: family
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: jealous, flapped, wombat

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder where they got the alligator baby.  {possible questions during} I wonder why the parents left Kristen all alone. I wonder why the parents keep getting the wrong baby. {possible questions after} I wonder if the animal parents will go back to the zoo.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (they, Kristen, Kristen’s mom, Kristen’s dad).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} the alligator baby bit the mom and dad’s nose. The otter baby slapped the dad in the face. The gorilla baby swung from the mom and dad’s ears. All these things are completely silly and make an entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Mom and dad ended up at the zoo to have their baby. {most important event from middle} Kristen rode her bike to the zoo to find her brother. {most important event from end} All the animal parents came to get their babies back.
  • Cause and effect – Why did mom and dad have their baby at the zoo? Because they got lost on the way to the hospital.  Why did the baby reach up and bite Kristen’s mother and father on the nose? Because the baby was a baby alligator. Why did Kristen’s father get flapped in the face? Because the baby was a baby seal. Why did Kristen’s mother and father have a baby gorilla hanging from their ear? Because they took the wrong baby from the zoo. Why did Kristen ride her bike to the zoo? Because she needed to find her baby brother. Why did the gorilla give Kristen her baby brother? Because she bit her on the nose. How come Kristen’s family did not have to take the animals back to the zoo?  Because all the animals came to the house to get their babies.
  • Character analysis - describe mother and father. Describe Kristen. {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Classify & categorize – Classify animals – classify land animals and water animals.
  • Compare & contrast – your parents to Kristen’s parents.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why do you think Kristen’s parents kept taking the wrong baby? {text clues} The parents didn’t look at the baby until Kristen uncovered it. {what I know} I know that if someone keeps making the same mistake then they probably are not paying attention to what they are doing. {my conclusion} I think Kristen’s parents kept grabbing the wrong baby because they were not paying attention to what they were doing.
  • Fact & opinion{fact} Kristen’s mother was going to have a baby. Mother and father drove to the zoo instead of the hospital. Kristen’s parents brought home a baby alligator. The baby gorilla swung from mother and fathers ears. {opinion} Kristen’s mother and father were not good parents. Alligators make great brothers. Baby seals are cute. Kristen was more responsible than her parents. Kristen is going to be a good big sister.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} the story is mostly about Kristen’s mother and father bringing home the wrong baby. {details} Mother and father brought home a baby alligator. Mother and father brought home a baby seal. Mother and father brought home a baby gorilla.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Kristen finally went to the zoo to find his brother.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about? What do you think is in the blanket with a green tail? What do you think the alligator is going to do? What do you think is in the blanket with a flipper? What do you think the seal is going to do to mother and father?  What do you think the gorilla is going to do to Kristen’s parents? Where do you think Kristen will find her baby brother? What do you think Kristen will do to the gorilla to get her baby brother back? How do you think the baby animals will get back to the zoo?   
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Kristen’s mother and father keep bringing home the wrong baby. {solution} Kristen finally went to the zoo to find her baby brother.
  • Sequencing – Kristen’s mother was about to have a baby. Kristen’s parents got lost and ended up at the zoo. They brought home a baby alligator. The alligator bit their noses. They brought home a baby seal. The seal slapped father in the face. They brought home a baby gorilla. The gorilla hung from mother and father’s ears. Kristen rode her bike to the zoo. Kristen brought her baby brother home. The animal parents burst into the house and got their babies.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Kristen’s parents kept bringing home the wrong baby. What would you say to them to make them pay attention to what they are doing?
  • Visualize The baby alligator bit mother and father on the nose. The baby seal slapped father in the face. The baby gorilla hung from mother and father’s ears. Visualize a different animal that they might bring home. What is that animal and what would it do to Kristen’s parents?

You can pick this up from either one of my stores.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Happy Reading!


  1. This is such a fun book, Shawna! I pinned your main idea freebie for you. :)
    Conversations in Literacy

  2. Thanks for the review and sharing this great freebie!

    Love to Learn

  3. Very cute freebie! I have never heard of this book but I am going to have to check it out. Thanks!

    Heather S.
    Teaching Through Turbulence

  4. This is a very cute freebie, I will also check out the book. :)

    Thank you!

    Yara at Sea of Knowledge

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Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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