Arthur's First Kiss by Marc Brown - Teaching Ideas

Oh dear! Arthur is so nervous about going to Muffy's Valentine's Day party because he does not want to play the kissing game! When he gets to the party Buster assures him that they won't be playing the bottle kissing game, but what Arthur doesn't know is that they will be playing a different kissing game. Muffy and Francine have it all planned out. Arthur is told that he must pick a name first, he does and it is his name. Arthur gets blindfolded and put into the garage. Francine picks next and pulls her name. Excitedly, Francine heads to the garage so she can kiss Arthur. Meanwhile, Arthur's sister DW has taken Arthur's dog Pal for a walk. She stops by the party and looks in the window. DW sees what is happening and comes to Arthur's rescue. She sends Pal into the garage and when Pal sees Arthur he gets all crazy and starts kissing Arthur. To Arthur's delight he finds that it is Pal kissing him and to Francine's dismay she hears DW yelling, "Run for your life!" Needless to say, Arthur brings home a big slice of cake for DW to thank her for saving him from having to kiss Francine.

Who doesn't love Arthur? I sure do and I know this story is sure to delight all of your students. Listed below are some skills and strategies that you can use to create activities to go with this book. I have created an Asking Questions Freebie for you to use if you students need practice with this.

Reading level: 1.8
Theme: Family, new life experiences, Valentine’s Day
Genre: Fiction, holiday fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: spin the bottle, snooping, bodyguard

Reading Skills and Strategies
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is about. I wonder who Arthur kisses.  {possible questions during} I wonder why Francine and Muffy are only writing Arthur and Francine's name on the papers. I wonder what spin the bottle is. I wonder what game they will play. {possible questions after} I wonder if Francine is mad because she didn't kiss Arthur. **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author’s point of view - third person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • Author’s purpose - entertain {evidence} Everyone went to a Valentine’s Day party. Arthur was really nervous about playing spin the bottle. Pal gave Arthur lots of kisses. All these things made a very entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Arthur said that he was going to Muffy’s party. {most important event from middle} Francine and Muffy got papers ready for a kissing game and Arthur went first. {most important event from end} DW sent Pal in the garage to save Arthur.
  • Cause and effect – Why was Muffy having a party? Because it was Valentine’s Day. Why was Arthur nervous about going to Muffy’s party? Because he didn’t want to play the kissing game. Why did Arthur turn beet red? Because DW said he looked handsome. Why did DW want to go to the party? So she could be Arthur’s bodyguard and protect him from Francine kissing him. Why did DW take Pal for a walk? Because Arthur asked her to. Why did DW put pal through the garage at Muffy’s house? So Pal could kiss Arthur and keep Francine from kissing him. Why did Arthur bring cake home for DW? Because she protected him from Francine.
  • Character analysis - describe Arthur {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Compare & contrast – you and Arthur.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Going to a Valentine’s Day party at someone’s house. Being nervous about a game you don’t want to play. Having someone want to kiss you. Not wanting to kiss someone.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – Why did Muffy and Francine only write Arthur and Francine on the papers? {text clues} Francine really wanted to kiss Arthur. {what I know} If only 2 names are used, only those 2 names will be drawn. {my conclusion} I think they only put those two names because Francine really wanted to kiss Arthur and if it is only their names they will be the only ones picked.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Francine wanted to kiss Arthur. {details} Arthur was very nervous about playing the kissing game. Francine and Muffy only put Arthur and Francine on the papers for the game. DW saved Arthur from being kissed by Francine.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when DW takes Pal for a walk and sees what is happening at the party.
  • Predict – What do you think the story will be about? Will Arthur kiss Francine? Will DW take Pal for a walk? Do you think they will play the bottle kissing game? What do you think Francine and Muffy are doing in the corner? What do you think DW will do after she sees Arthur get a scarf put around his eyes? What do you think Pal will do?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Arthur was nervous about going to the party because he didn’t want to play the kissing game. {solution} DW let Pal into the garage to keep Francine from kissing Arthur.
  • Sequencing – Muffy reminded everyone about her party. Arthur got ready for the party. Muffy and Francine were doing something in the corner. Arthur had to pick a name for the game first. Arthur was sent to the garage with a blindfold on. DW took Pal for a walk and peeked in the window at the party. DW sent Pal into the garage to save Arthur. Pal started kissing Arthur. DW yelled, “Run for your life” to Arthur. Arthur brought cake home for DW.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Summarize - {someone} Francine {wanted} wanted to kiss Arthur {but} but Arthur didn’t want to kiss Francine {so} so Muffy and Francine made a game that would make Arthur have to kiss Francine. {then} When DW saw what was happening she sent Pal in to save Arthur.

Happy Reading!


  1. LOVE it! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm definitely going to forward this onto my sub. :)


  2. I love your blog, your reviews are amazing! I think my kids will love to hear this story next week and I love having a questioning activity - comprehension is VERY low for some of my friends this year. I am your newest follower,
    Kickin' It With Class

    1. Thanks Heather, I am always glad to hear that all the time I put into these reviews is benefiting others!
      Enjoy your weekend!!


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