This story is about a dog that is sent away to Obedience School. The dog writes letters home to his owner explaining how awful the school is. He is a very clever writer and uses a lot of humor. The book has two illustrations for each set of pages. The first illustration is the picture that the dog creates in his home notes to his owner and the other picture is a picture that shows what is actually happening. An example of this is the dining hall. The dog creates a picture that he is being beaten for asking for food and the text pictures shows the dog eating dinner at a fancy restaurant with white table linens.
It's a very funny story that the students will enjoy reading. My students and I looked at key words that the dog used to help create the picture he wanted to convey. Ike, the dog will use words in a sentence that convey a message. When Ike was roaming he wrote Mrs. LaRue and said that he, "suffered horribly as I roam this barren wasteland." I asked my students how does this convey a different message than Ike traveled around town? The first sentence paints a vivid picture. Ike states in one of his postcards to Mrs. LaRue that "life here continues to be a nightmare." Once again this paints a much different picture than saying life is tough. This book will help the students learn how to expand upon their vocabulary to create exciting stories.
Later on, you can have your students issue a report card for Ike. On the report card, the students needed to grade Ike on attitude, patience, working with others, writing skills and loyalty. The students could grade Ike as excellent, very good, good, fair and needs work. The students also need to list Ike's biggest fault and Ike's best quality. The students enjoyed being the teachers. I timed this lesson to coinside with my students' report cards.