Monday, April 13, 2015

The Boy in The Drawer by Robert Munsch - Teaching Ideas

Once again I find myself grabbing a Robert Munsch book. I don't know why I do this to myself. As you may already know, I am not a big fan of Robert Munsch books, but I know the kids are...I guess that is why I do it.

This book is a strange story that doesn't really make sense to me. I had my oldest daughter read the book (who by the way is an English Lit major in school) and when she finished she handed it back to me and said, "I don't get it".  It is basically a story about a small boy that causes trouble for a little girl. There's more, a deeper meaning, a lesson, a reason...I can't quite figure it out, but I can pull out the reading skills and strategy questions and ideas, so if you are wanting to try to get your students to practice these after reading this book, here are some tips to help.

Reading level: 3.1
Theme/subject: manners                               
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested vocabulary/phrases: centimeters  

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – these are just possible questions or wondering from either the student or teacher
    • Before
      1. I wonder what the story is going to be about.
      2. I wonder why there is a boy in the drawer.
      3. I wonder what the girl is going to do about the boy in the drawer.
    • During
      1. I wonder why the boy is there.
      2. I wonder who left the socks all around the floor.
      3. I wonder why the boy is watering a plant in the girl’s bed.
      4. I wonder why the girl painted the boy’s ear.
      5. I wonder why the boy is in the bathtub in the breadbox.
      6. I wonder why the boy keeps getting bigger.
      7. I wonder if the boy will ever go away.
    • After
      1. I wonder why it was just the girl that had to clean everything up.
      2. I wonder if the boy will come back.
      3. I wonder why the author wrote this.
  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – third
  • Author's purpose – entertain 
    • Evidence
      1. There cannot really be a boy small enough to be in a drawer.
      2. There cannot really be a boy that grows as fast as he does.
      3. The boy taking a bath in the breadbox is pretty silly.
  • Beginning, middle, end – the most important event from each
    • Beginning – The girl found a boy in her drawer.
    • Middle – The girl painted the boy’s ear and then the boy grew taller.
    • End – The family started to be nice to the boy and the boy disappeared.
  • Cause and effect  
      1. Why did Shelley look into her sock drawer? Because she heard someone yell from inside the drawer.
      2. Why did Shelley have to clean her room? Because there were socks all over her room.
      3. Why did Shelley pull back the covers on her bed? Because she saw a bump in her bed.
      4. Why did the boy grow five MORE centimeters? Because Shelley painted his ear black.
      5. Why was there water coming out of the breadbox? Because the boy was in the breadbox taking a bath.
      6. Why did the boy grow 50 centimeters? Because Shelley turned off the hot water and turned on the cold water.
      7. Why did the boy finally disappear?  Because the mom gave him a big kiss.
  • Character analysis - describe character Shelley. Describe the boy. {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character, how others think/see the character}
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why do you think the boy kept growing?
    • Text clues – Every time Shelley and her mom and dad told the boy to go, or yelled at him or did something not so nice to him he got bigger. At the end when the family was nice to him he got smaller and smaller and finally disappeared.
    • What I know – I know that the Shelley and her family were not very nice to the boy.
    • My conclusion – I think the boy kept growing because the family was not being very nice or polite to him.
  • Main idea & details
    • Main idea – The story is mostly about a boy in Shelley’s drawer that causes a lot of trouble for her and her family in their house.
    • Details
      1. Shelley finds a boy in her drawer after she sees all her socks all over her room.
      2. The boy starts to paint the window black as Shelley is reading.
      3. The boy is taking a bath in breadbox and is getting water all over the family room.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when Shelley realizes that being nice to the boy will make him go away.
  • Predict
      1. What do you think the story is going to be about?
      2. What do you think Shelley’s mom will say about all the socks?
      3. Why do you think there is water coming out of the breadbox?
      4. What do you think Shelley’s idea is?
      5. How do you think Shelley and her mom and dad will make the boy go away?
      6. Who do you think will have to clean up the kitchen?
  • Problem & solution
    • Problem – There is a strange boy causing problems in Shelley’s house.
    • Solution – Shelley and her family start to be nice to the boy and he finally goes away.
  • Sequencing    
      1. Shelley finds socks all over her room.
      2. Shelley finds a boy in her drawer.
      3. Shelley tells her mother.
      4. Shelley finds the boy watering a tomato plant in her bed.
      5. Shelley tells her mother.
      6. The boy paints the window next to Shelley black.
      7. Shelley paints the boy’s ear black.
      8. The boy takes a bath in the breadbox.
      9. Shelley turns off the hot water and turns on the cold.
      10. Shelley told the boy to “Beat it”.
      11. The boy grew 10 centimeters.
      12. Shelley and her mom and dad decided to be nice to the boy.
      13. The boy disappeared.
      14. Shelley had to clean the kitchen.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Summarize
    • Someone – Shelley
    • Wanted – wanted the boy to leave
    • But – but he wouldn’t
    • So – so she told him to “Beat it”
    • Then – then he grew bigger. Shelley
    • Finally – finally tried being nice to the boy and when she did that he vanished.
  • Theme – the lesson, message or moral of the story
      1. Be nice to your problems and they just might go away.
Happy Reading!

1 comment :

  1. Hey Shawna, this is amazing work! Thank you so much for such a great blog. You might also be interested in mine... I wrote a database that lets you search for books by skill. It's here at or my blog is at


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