Cosmo Zooms by Arthur Howard - Teaching Ideas

Every dog on Pumpkin Lane was good at something, except poor Cosmo. He thought about climbing a tree, and then he thought about catching a mouse, but neither of those things Cosmo could do. Cosmo got tired trying to think of something he could be good at, so he decided to lay down and take a nap, but instead of laying on the grass he landed on a skateboard. The skateboard took off and so did Cosmo. Cosmo zoomed down a hill and crashed into a bush. When Cosmo crawled out of the bush the other dogs on Pumpkin Lane were amazed at how well Cosmo handled the skateboard. Cosmo was now good at something!

This book is so cute and has a great lesson. If it is in your library pull it out and use one of the skills or strategies below to help you create a meaningful lesson.

I thought this book was perfect for summarizing so I created a freebie to go with it.

Reading level: 2.4
Theme/subject: animals, individuality
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: howler, herder, round it up, zipped by, underfoot, yelped, hydrangeas, near misses, swoops, swerves

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder if the dog’s name is Cosmo. I wonder how he got onto a skateboard.  {possible questions during} I wonder what Cosmo could be good at. I wonder how Cosmo got on that skateboard.  {possible questions after} I wonder if Cosmo will get hurt riding the skateboard.  **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 (Cosmo, his, she, him).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} The illustrations are very cute. Dogs don’t ride skateboards. Cosmo didn’t get hurt when he crashed into the hydrangea bush. All these things made a very entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning}Cosmo was not good at anything.  {most important event from middle} Cosmo fell asleep on a skateboard and zoomed away. {most important event from end} All the other dogs thought Cosmo was good at riding the skateboard.
  • Cause and effect – Why was Flip named Flip? Because he could catch any Frisbee ever thrown. Why was Puddles named Puddles? Because he could drool for eleven hours in a row. Why did Cosmo get sleepy? Because he was trying to think of something he could be good at. Why did the mailboxes zip by? Because he was on a skateboard. Why did Cosmo plow into the hydrangea bush? Because he didn’t know how to stop the skateboard. Why were the other dogs excited an impressed? Because Cosmo was finally good at something. Why did Cosmo keep riding the skateboard? Because he was good at it and it made him feel good.
  • Character analysis - describe Cosmo {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – in the beginning Cosmo was a bit sad because he couldn’t do anything. At the end Cosmo was happy because he was good at skateboarding and it felt good.
  • Classify & categorize – Classify dog tricks. Categorize tricks that most dogs could do and tricks that some dogs could do. For example: sit, stay, roll over, catch Frisbees, ride surfboards, ride on motorcycles, etc.
  • Compare & contrast – Compare and contrast your dog to Cosmo.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} having a dog. Tricks your dog can do. You not being able to do things like your friends. Feeling sad that you can’t do things your friends can do. Feeling good when you do something your good at.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing -  How do you think Cosmo got onto the skateboard? {text clues} Cosmo got sleepy and lay down on the grass.  {What I know} there must have been a skateboard in the tall grass that Cosmo laid down in.  {my conclusion}I think Cosmo was so tired he just lay down on the skateboard without realizing it.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about Cosmo discovering that he was good at skateboarding. {details} Cosmo was sad that he wasn’t good at anything. Cosmo took off on a skateboard and stayed on. Cosmo went faster and faster.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Cosmo took off on a skateboard.
  • Predict – What do you think the story will be about? What do you think Cosmo is good at? Why do you think there is nobody riding the bicycle? What do you think will happen to Cosmo on the skateboard? How do you think Cosmo feels about finding something he is good at? Do you think Cosmo will keep riding the skateboard?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Cosmo’s problem is that he is not good at anything. {solution} He accidentally lies down on a skateboard and takes off.
  • Sequencing – Every dog on Pumpkin Lane is good at something. Lance can run fast. Elvis can howl loud. Flip can catch Frisbee’s. Puddles drools a lot. Gracie is good at herding. Cosmo was not good at anything. Pearl tried to help Cosmo figure out what he was good at. Cosmo was sleepy so he went to lay down. Cosmo passed a bike. Cosmo passed a mailbox. Cosmo zoomed down Pumpkin Lane. Cosmo crashed into a bush. All the dogs thought Cosmo was great on the skateboard. Cosmo felt great. Cosmo kept riding the skateboard.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Cosmo felt bad because he thought he was not good at anything. What could you tell Cosmo to make him feel better?
  • Summarize - {someone} Cosmo {wanted} wanted to be good at something {but} but he wasn’t {so} so he went to take a nap {then} then he laid down on a skateboard and took off. Cosmos was {finally} finally good at something, skateboarding.
  • Theme – Everyone is good at something different. Everyone is unique in what they can do. You will find something that you are good at.
  • Visualize – Visualize what you think you are good at doing. Draw a picture of it and then write about it.

Happy Planning!


  1. I love how you took the book and listed reading skills to use with it! What a fabulous way to help teachers out. This is a great post...a tremendous resource. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. Thanks Brandee,
      That is my goal, to make planning just a wee bit easier for teachers! If the info I provide helps in some way then I am happy!!

  2. Hi Shawna, WOW! I've been following you on Instagram, but I am SO happy I got on my computer and found you tonight- what a fantastic blog you have here! I am going to be very busy looking through your lessons this summer! Thank you for sharing so many great resources!
    The Teacher’s Chair

    1. Hey Tracey,
      I am loving Instagram! There are a few people I follow on Instagram that I should look up as well. I have since started following you and am also looking forward to spending some time over at your site, I just love good ideas!!
      See you around Instagram!

  3. Looks like such a great book! I love picture books but have not read this one yet. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Love Teaching Kids

  4. Thanks for sharing Cosmo! This is another book I'll have to add to my library!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!