Monday, January 19, 2015

#IMWAYR - Dog Breath

As a literacy coach, I have the good fortune to work in many classrooms alongside teachers, and while doing that, get to see a wide variety of mentor texts used with students.  One of the books I read recently was purchased after I saw a teacher use it as a mentor text for her narrative writing unit.

Dog Breath: the Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis has been around since 1994, but I had just never seen it. As I watched a 3rd grade teacher read it with her students, I found myself guffawing (I was way past laughing!) as the story unfolded.

The teacher who used this book used it as mentor for how narratives can have problems and solutions and story arcs. It worked beautifully for this as students could clearly identify the issue of the story: the dog, Hally Tosis (you have to love that play on words!), has incredibly bad breath which presents a real problem for his owners.

But this book could be used for so many more reasons which makes it a wonderful mentor. The idioms and language (play on words) would provide great conversation:
  • The dog with bad breath had the name, Hally Tosis.
  • When the children, trying to solve the problem, took him to see "breathtaking views."
  • They also tried to take him to a movie that advertised it would "leave you breathless."
  • Then the roller coaster that advertised "You'll lose your breath on our roller coaster."
  • "But that idea stunk too."
  • The last line of the story: "Because life without Hally Tosis just wouldn't make any scents!"
All sorts of fun to be had with words!!

Thanks to Jen for hosting the kidlit version of It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Head on over to her blog to see some other wonderful titles.


  1. You would love Dogzilla and Cat Kong by Pilkey, as well!

  2. It really does sound like fun, Karen. I've never heard of this book, so thanks for sharing it! Have a good week!

  3. Dav Pilkey is always entertaining. (Have you seen his Goodreads photo?)

  4. Dav Pilkey is fun! :) Will find Dog Breath. :)