Amos and Boris by William Steig is a heartfelt story about two unlikely friends who help in their most dire situations.
Amos, an adventurous mouse, had always wanted to travel the ocean. On day, he decided to build his own ship and explore the ocean. However, he found himself in the middle of a terrible storm and was thrown from his boat. He thought he was a goner when all of a sudden a whale appeared curious to find such a creature in the ocean. Amos and Boris (the whale) became fast friends. As Boris was taking Amos back home, they talked about their lives and what life was like on land and in the water. When they had finally arrived to take Amos home, they were sad to realize they might not ever see each other again. However, when they were no longer younger creatures, Boris was traveling and a hurricane had hit where he was traveling. He was beached on land nearby, the same place that Amos had happened to make his home. It was finally his turn to help his friend who had saved his life. He immediately went to find two elephants to help him and as soon as the whale had been beached, he was back in the water. Both realized they would never forget one another.
Yes, this book is a wonderful tale about friendship, but this would be a great time to compare and contrast mammals that live on land and mammals that live in water.
Discuss important vocabulary that some students may struggle with such as: breakers, sextant, mackerel, grandeur, plankton. Discuss these vocabulary words and have students use the Frayer Model.
I have modified this in the past and have added the box mnemonic device/illustration to help students remember the nature of the word. I have also added a box that requires students to write a complete sentence using the word.
Character Cards: Have students create character cards (kind of like baseball cards) about Boris and Amos. This can also be used as a research project as well. On this card will be the following criteria:
- Name, species
- Description of the character: physical features, charmcteristics
- Role in the story
- Supreme behavior: what did these characters do that demonstrated what we learn in character education.