The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey - Teaching Ideas

This book is the perfect book for October, not only is it a Halloween book but the underlying theme is bullying, which we all know that October is National Bullying Prevention month. Oscar is a very caring dog that is loved dearly by his mother and teased endlessly by his peers. To make things worse his mother got him a very embarrassing costume to wear for Halloween, but of course he doesn't want to hurt her feelings so he wears the costume. The other dogs, in typical bullying behavior,  howl with laughter when he comes out to trick-or-treat. As the night goes on poor Oscar has no candy and is ready to head back home, sad and disappointed, when all of a sudden, he hears the other dogs yell for help. Oscar, being the kind, caring dog that he is goes to see how he can help. Oscar finds that a large monster has scared the other dogs into the pond. Oscar doesn't think twice, he attacks the monster, revealing their true identity and then jumps into the pond to save the other dogs. The dogs are so surprised and happy to be saved they thank Oscar by giving him all their candy and they tell him how brave he is, he is their "Hero Sandwich"!

This is a wonderful book for creating a lesson, whether it be on bullies, what it is to be brave or a simple skill or strategy lesson. Listed below is information, questions, and ideas to help you with your lesson, BUT if you don't want to create anything, don't worry I have created a wonderful packet to use with this book. The bottom of this post has pictures and information about the packet.

Reading level: 2.8
Theme: Halloween, bravery, bullies
Genre: fiction, holiday

Suggested Vocabulary: obedience school, Vienna sausage, dashed, quite frank, ghastly, all his might, ornery, frankfurter

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about? Why does that dog look so unhappy? {possible questions during} Why did the other dogs have to be so mean to Oscar? Why didn't Oscar tell his mom that she embarrasses him? Why did Oscar keep hanging out with the other dogs when all they do is tease him? I wonder why Oscar helped all the other dogs when they got scared? I wonder why the cats scared the dogs? {possible questions after} After Oscar saved the other dogs they were very nice to Oscar, but I wonder why they still didn't wait for him while they trick-or-treated. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - 3rd person point of view. Find 3 pieces of evidence to prove this.
  • author's purpose - entertain {evidence} Dogs don't talk and Oscar looked really silly in his costume. The cats dressed as a scary monster to scare the dogs. All these things are silly and make the book very funny.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The other dogs laughed and made fun on Oscar.{most important event from middle} Oscar's mom got him a silly hot dog costume to wear for Halloween. {most important event from end} Oscar saved the other dog from the pond.
  • cause and effect - Why did the other dogs laugh at Oscar? because of his unusual shape and size. Why was Oscar not upset about the teasing today? because it was Halloween. Why did Oscar not make a scary costume? because his mom got him a surprise costume, a hot dog bun. Why did Oscar decide to wear the costume his mom got him? because he did not want to hurt his mother's feelings. Why did the other dogs howl with laughter? because Oscar showed up in his silly costume. Why did the dogs stop dead in their tracks? because they heard a hissing sound. Why did the dogs scream for their lives? because a ghastly monster rose from the graveyard. Why did Oscar tug at the monster? because he saw something the other dogs didn't, a cat tail. Why did all the dogs share their Halloween treats with Oscar? because he saved them. Why did the other dogs start calling Oscar "Hero Sandwich"? because he was so brave.
  • characterization - describe Oscar, describe the other dogs {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • classify & categorize - Ways people act - things bullies do, things friends do.
  • compare & contrast - Oscar and the other dogs
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Being teased. Wearing a silly costume. Having your mom embarrass you. Being brave.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - Why would Oscar go help all the other dogs when all they do is tease him? {text clues}Oscar wore the costume his mom got him even though it was embarrassing because he didn't want to hurt his mom's feelings. {what I know} If someone does something even though it will be embarrassing for them because they don't want to hurt someone else's feelings they are usually and really nice and caring person. {my conclusion} I think Oscar saved the other dogs because Oscar is a very nice and caring dog and he didn't like to see his "friends" in trouble.
  • fact & opinion - {facts} 90% of students have said they have been bullied. The main reason for being bullied is a persons appearance or body size.  1 out of 10 students will drop out of school because of bullying. Only 57% of students will actually report being bullied. ( {opinions} I think bullies are mean. I think bullies should go to jail. I think some people don't know they are being bullies. Bullies are always in trouble.
  • main idea & details - {main idea}The story is mostly about Oscar being teased and left out. {details} The dogs laughed at his size and shape. The dogs laughed at his costume. Oscar couldn't get any candy when he trick-or-treated because the other dogs went before him and took it all.
  • predict - What do you think the story is about? What kind of scary costume do you think Oscar is going to make? Do you think Oscar will wear the costume he got from his mom? Will Oscar ever get any treats? What do you think Oscar will do about the other dogs being in the pond? How do you think the other dogs will treat Oscar now that he saved them?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Oscar was always teased by the other dogs.  {solution} Oscar saved the other dogs and now they think he is brave.
  • sequencing - Oscar was excited about Halloween. He was going to make a scary costume. Oscar's mom had a surprise costume for him, it was a hot dog bun. Oscar wore his costume trick-or-treating. The other dogs howled with laughter at Oscar's costume. The other dogs got scared when they walked past the graveyard. The dogs jumped into a nearby pond. Oscar started pulling and tugging at the monster. Oscar pulled the costume off the 2 cats that were scaring the other dogs. The cats ran away. Oscar saved the other dogs from the pond. All the other dogs now loved Oscar and gave him their candy.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • strong thought - What do you think about bullies?
  • summarize - {someone} Oscar {wanted} wanted to make a scary costume {but} but his mom already got him one {so} so he wore that costume even though it was embarrassing. Oscar was teased because of his costume but the other dogs {finally} finally stopped teasing him when he saved them.
  • theme - What did you really learn from the story? Nice, caring people will always be nice and caring and even help those that may have bullied them.
  • visualize - visualize yourself being brave. What would you do to show that you were brave.

This packet is filled with differentiated worksheets that are aligned with the Common Core standards. It is also tailored to this book with specific questions of varying degrees of difficulty. Students will respond by drawing, circling answers, writing sentences and or finding text evidence to support their thinking.

Included in packet:
Directions and Common Core Standard for each skill and strategy. Plus ideas for extending the activities.
* Vocabulary - 4 pages
* Asking Questions - 2 pages
* Beginning, Middle, End - 5 pages
* Cause and Effect - 3 pages
* Character Analysis - 4 pages
* Classify and Categorize "Bullies and Friends"- 5 pages
* Compare and Contrast - 3 pages
* Connections - 3 pages
* Inference/Drawing Conclusion - 3 pages
* Fact and Opinion about bullying - 2 pages
* Main Idea and Details - 5 pages
* Predicting - 3 pages
* Problem and Solution - 5 pages
* Story Map - 3 pages
* Visualize and writing "Visualize Being Brave" - 5 pages

 Happy teaching!


  1. Thanks for reviewing this book, I had been wondering about it!
    Love to Learn

    1. I think you will like it! There are funny hot dog references (for the adult humor) as well as a great bully/bravery lesson for the kiddos. You can't go wrong with this as a Halloween read aloud!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!