Boo! by Robert Munsch - Teaching Ideas

In the spirit of Halloween I am reviewing Boo! by Robert Munsch. I have to be honest, I am not a huge fan of Robert Munsch books, and I really don't like this story. I review these books because the kids (and many teachers) love them. This book follows true to Robert Munsch's style, repetitive, silly and over the top.

Lance wants to paint his face for Halloween. He wants to paint it so scary that people fall over. In the course of trick or treating Lance scares the people at the houses he is trick or treating at and when they fall over and don't get up to give him his treat, he enters their house and proceeds to take all the candy he can find. In the second house he becomes more daring and not only takes all the candy but he raids the refrigerator and takes all the food and drinks.

As he leaves the house Lance and his bag sit in the middle of the street because his "loot" is too heavy for him to carry...thank goodness a police officer comes by and helps him carry it all home!

Later that night a teenage boy comes trick or treating to Lance's house with his "loot" and Lance scares the boy into running away and leaving all of his candy. Instead of giving it back, Lance takes it right inside and considers it his.

Lance has so much candy that he eats it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for an entire YEAR!

There are just so many things that I find wrong with this story, but I continue to use it, because it is a great book for what not to do while trick or treating, and lets face it, the kids LOVE the story.

I created a FREEBIE compare and contrast activity that has kids comparing how they trick or treat to how Lance trick or treats. They should be able to pick out all the safe and good things they do compared to Lance.

Here are some more ideas, skills and strategies you can use if you want to use this book for other "what not to do lessons".

Reading level: 2.2
Theme/subject: Halloween
Genre: holiday, humorous

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: enormous

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder what the kid looks like to scare all those grown-ups like that. {possible questions during} I wonder why Lance thinks it’s okay to go into some body’s house and take their food and candy.  I wonder if the police officer will fall over. I wonder if the police officer will make Lance take all the food and candy back. {possible questions after} I wonder why his parents let him eat so much candy every day.  **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 (he, his, Lance).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} the author used expression with capital letters and exclamation points. The illustrator used lots of facial expressions. It was very funny when the police officer ran away from Lance because he was so scared.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Lance painted a face for Halloween that was so scary his dad fell over. {most important event from middle} Lance went out trick or treating and took all the candy and food from the houses he went to.  {most important event from end} Lance had so much candy it lasted till the next Halloween.
  • Cause and effect – Why did Lance’s dad fall over? Because Lance painted his face to be very scary. Why did Lance take all the candy from the first house he trick or treated at? Because he scared the man so bad he fell over and didn’t get up to give Lance any candy. Why did Lance take all the food from the refrigerator?  Because he scared the lady so bad she fell over and didn’t get up to give him treats. Why was Lance sitting in the middle of the street? Because his bag was so heavy he could not carry it. Why did the police officer zoom away? Because he saw Lance’s face and got scared. Why did Lance not fall over when he saw the teenager’s face? Because his face was not as scary as his. 
  • Character analysis - describe Lance {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Classify & categorize – Halloween costumes: scary and not scary
  • Compare & contrast – How Lance goes trick or treating and how you go trick or treating.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} painting your face for Halloween. Getting lots of candy. Having a bag too heavy to carry. Scaring someone because of your costume.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about Lance scaring people and taking their things. {details} Lance scared a man and took his candy. Lance scared a lady and took her candy and food from the refrigerator. Lance scared the teenage boy and took his bags of candy.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about?  Do you think Lance will make his face scary enough to make his dad fall over? Do you think the policeman will fall over like everyone else? Do you think the teenager will have a face as scary as Lance’s?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Lance wanted to paint his face so scary that people fell over when they saw it. Lance would trick or treat at a house and they would fall over and not get up to give him candy.  {solution} Lance’s solution was to go into the house and take what he wanted.
  • Sequencing – Lance painted his face. Lance’s dad fell over when he saw Lance’s face. Lance took candy from the man he scared while trick or treating. Lance took candy and food from the lady he scared while trick or treating. Lance sat in the middle of the street. The police officer helped Lance take his bag home. Lance scared the police officer. A teenage boy came to the door and took off his pillowcase. Lance took off his pillow case and the teenage boy ran away. Lance ate candy all the time.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Lance went into people’s houses and took all the candy and food. Why is this wrong?
  • Theme - I don’t think Lance learned a good lesson, but we could sure learn a lesson from Lance. Going into someone’s house and taking something that is not yours is stealing, don’t do it.
  • Visualize – The police officer helped take Lance’s candy and food home. Visualize what the police officer should have done when he found out Lance took all of that candy and food.


Happy Halloween!


  1. I just love that you don't necessarily endorse this book ... but that kids like it so you're willing to showcase it and put together lessons about it. Kudos! So interesting what works with kids.

    Appreciating your honesty,


  2. Love your site...need more time to look around...I like Robert M, but only sometimes. :) My kids like Thomas' Snowsuit and "I have to Go". :)

  3. My two youngest would go "bananas" for this snack! I'll have to try to make it. You have the best snacks!
    Educational dvds for Kids | Buy cds Online India


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!