Chris & Croc by Marcus Pfister - Teaching Ideas

Chris has a friend named Croc. Croc is Chris's stuffed animal. Chris and Croc do lots of things together. Chris tried to roller skate, Chris and Croc played with a beach ball and Croc made a parachute from the beach ball that he popped. Croc jumped out of a tree wearing the parachute and Chris climbed the tree too, but decided it was much too dangerous, so he tricked Croc into thinking he jumped out of the tree. At dinner Croc ate all of Chris's spinach and Chris told Croc how great it was to have a friend like him.

This is a great book about imagination and friendship and to go along with it is a list of reading skills and strategies you can use to create your own lesson.

I also created a visualizing freebie to use with this book.

Reading level: 2.0
Theme/subject: friendship
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: teetered and tottered, creeping, crept, parachute, coward, crouched, gunk, gaping mouth

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is about. I wonder if Croc is a real crocodile. {possible questions during} I wonder what Chris is going to do with all the pillows. I wonder how they will make a parachute. I wonder if Chris will really jump. {possible questions after} I wonder if Croc is a real crocodile.  **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. (Chris, Croc, his, he)
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} Kids are not friends with crocodiles. Crocodiles do not talk. A crocodile could not have floated down with that beach ball parachute.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Chris brought Croc outside to play. {most important event from middle} Chris and Croc made parachutes out of the popped beach ball. {most important event from end} Chris told Croc that he was happy to have a friend like him.
  • Cause and effect – Why did Croc try to hide from Chris? Because he didn’t want to go out and play. Why did Chris throw his skates in the bushes? Because he fell and hurt himself.  Why did Chris get pillows from the house? So he wouldn’t get hurt when he fell on his roller skates. Why did Croc pop the beach ball? Because Chris scared him. Why did Chris have tears in his eyes? Because he didn’t mean to pop the ball and make Chris sad. Why was Chris nervous? Because he thought he might get hurt jumping out of the tree. Why did Chris tell Croc to look at the hot-air balloon? So he could get down from the tree and pretend like he jumped out. Why did Chris say that it was great to have a friend like Croc? Because he ate all of Chris’s spinach.
  • Character analysis - describe Chris. Describe Croc {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Compare & contrast – Chris and Croc
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having a stuffed animal that you like to play with. Having a crocodile for a stuffed animal. Thinking your stuffed animal is your best friend. {possible text-to-text connections} Connect this book to Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems, or Corduroy by Don Freeman. Both books have stuffed animals that are important to the character.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about Chris and Croc being friends. {details} Chris and Croc made a parachute. Chris and Croc played with a beach ball. Croc ate all the spinach that Chris didn’t want to eat.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when Croc popped the beach ball.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about? What do you think Chris is going to do with the pillows?  What do you think will happen when Croc climbs the tree with the beach ball? How do you think Croc will make Chris happy again?
  • Sequencing – Chris dragged Croc out to play. Chris found his roller skates in the bush. Chris fell and got hurt riding on his roller skates. Chris put pillows on his body so he wouldn’t get hurt with his skates. Chris threw a beach ball to Croc. Croc popped the beach ball. Chris and Croc made parachutes out of the popped beach ball. Croc jumped out of the tree with the parachute. Chris told Croc to look at the hot-air balloon. Chris climbed out of the tree and pretended like he jumped. Chris and Croc went inside to eat dinner. Croc ate all of Chris’s spinach.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Chris was nervous about jumping out of the tree with the parachute. Would you agree or disagree with Chris. Why or why not?
  • Visualize – Chris and Croc did many things together. Visualize what you and your stuffed animal do (or did) together. Draw a picture and write about it.

Happy Planning,


  1. Shawna, have you ever read Hooray For Amanda And Her Alligator by Mo Willems? It seems like it would be a great companion to this book! Great lesson plan/activity suggestions!

    1. Hi Susanna,
      I have not read Hooray For Amanda and Her Alligator, thank for sharing it with me. I will have to add it to my wish list and use it as a text to text connection with this book.

  2. Shawna, your blog is my absolute new favorite! I've only been teaching for 2 years, and the hardest part for me is matching picture books to reading skills and strategies. I've bookmarked your site and I'm sure I will visit it over and over again. Thank you for sharing YOUR skills with us!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!