Teddy Took the Train, Nicki Greenberg, Allen and Unwin, 2015.
Teddy Took the Train is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of a brave little girl who waits in anticipation for her teddy to return home after accidentally losing him on the train. Dot is eager to show Teddy the sights and sounds of the city passing on by their window seat inside the train. But with all the hustle and bustle, Dot and her Mum hurriedly depart the train, soon to realise that the train has taken Teddy… “No, Teddy took the train!”As best as she can cope with the grief of his sudden departure from her life, Dot reassures herself that Teddy’s train trip had been preconceived and he will make his way back to her in good time. His picnic at Bear Bend, his crowd surfing at Flinders Street, his river ride, and worldly adventures were all part of his plan. And when doubt and worries creep in, she handles these thoughts with maturity and optimism. But will Dot’s little world-travelling companion make it home in time for bed?
Nicki Greenberg’s text paces rhythmically and steadily, effectively engaging its young readers as they journey around town with this adventurous toy. I love how she builds emotion and encourages interaction with some bold sound words, repetition of what’s taking Teddy and the incorporation of questions. Nicki’s illustrations are equally animated and intriguing with their mixed media acrylics, scanned textures and collage techniques that keep your eye roving throughout every page.
A delightfully imaginative story about dealing with missing toys in a courageous and resilient way. It is perfect for preschoolers, and those who especially understand this situation all too well.
Short listed in the 2015 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.
Available for purchase here.
Ask, have you ever been on a train? What did you see, hear, smell inside and outside? Where / which way do you like to sit?
Look at the cover. What do you see? Where do you think Teddy might be going? Why do you think he’s taking a trip on the train?
Do you think Teddy likes being crowded on the train? How do you think Dot lost Teddy? Do you think Dot is worried about Teddy? How do you know? Do you think Teddy is worried about Dot? Why or why not? Do you think Teddy will make it back home? Why or why not?
Do you think Teddy really did all those things? Why does Dot tell her other toys about Teddy’s adventures? How do you think Dot felt when she thought Teddy was taking a long time to come home? What words can you use to describe Dot? Teddy?
Have you ever lost a favourite toy? How did it make you feel? What thoughts did you tell yourself to make you feel better?
Were there things you noticed about the different people in the book? Were there things you noticed about objects or textures in the pictures?
– Dot and Teddy Venn Diagram.
Create a Venn Diagram showing the similarities and differences between Dot and Teddy. Think about their appearances, character traits and actions. Eg. Dot has blond, curly hair / Teddy has short, brown hair. Dot had a picnic with her toys / Teddy had a picnic with his bear friends. Draw the ideas and label your pictures.
– Recount Writing.
Write about a time when you lost, or misplaced, something you were fond of. What did you do? How did you feel? Did you find it in the end? If not, how did you overcome the problem? Illustrate with your favourite part of the story.
– Creative Writing.
Imagine one of your toys took an adventure. Where would they go? How would they get there? What obstacles did they have to overcome? Did they come back to the original destination?
– Writing Lists.
Write a list of places you would like to visit, real or imaginary.
– Vocabulary / Grammar.
Write a list of adjectives to describe Dot. Write another list to describe Teddy. Include appearance, character traits, actions. Also see Thinking Activity (Venn Diagram).
Complete the sentence: ‘The ____ took ____! No, _____ took the ____!’ Illustrate.
Tt is for Teddy. Make a list of words beginning with ‘Tt’. Draw/make a train and write each word in the carriages.
Read other books by Nicki Greenberg. Compare and contrast similarities and differences between writing style and illustrations.
– Space / Location.
Help Teddy find his way back to Dot.
Make your own or download and complete the Teddy Took the Train Maze.
Puzzle Maker: http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/AdvMazeSetupForm.asp
Train Addition Game.
Objectives:Reinforce number recognition and one-to-one correspondence counting skills.
– Measurement: Time.
Train Travel. Teddy explored the city of Melbourne via the train network. Choose your own city’s travel network to explore for the following activity.
Materials:list of train (or tram, bus, etc) stations, train track / hard floor with labelled stations, toy train or homemade propelling train (See Science activity), timer or stopwatch.
1. Make your own train route with different stations (we simply stood labelled paper rolls up as the stations).
2. Make or use a toy/propelled train. Tip: if using a balloon, attach the tape underneath and not over the neck so you don’t restrict the airflow
3. Set the train at the start of the track, and let go! Time how long it takes to travel from one station to the next (adult assistance required).
4. Record results. Eg. Melbourne Central Station to Southern Cross Station: 6 seconds.
5. Extension: Increase the number of stations on your track. Estimate and time how long it takes to complete the whole route.
– Measurement: Time.
Clocks. It took from breakfast to bed time for Teddy to complete his outing on the train.
Make a time wheel or timeline showing your daily routine / activities, dividing the day into either:
Breakfast, Morning tea, Lunch, Afternoon tea, Dinner, Dessert, or
Morning, Mid-morning, Midday, Afternoon, Evening, Night, or
9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm.
– Make your own self propelled train.
The science of ‘force’ is fascinating and can be explored in many ways. Use this train in the above Numeracy activity (Train Travel), or simply experiment and discuss the nature of ‘forces’ in this Science activity.
Instructions on how to make a balloon powered car (or train) here: http://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Balloon-Car
A few more great ideas on learning about forces here: http://www.science-sparks.com/2014/01/29/ideas-for-learning-about-forces
Arts / Crafts.
– A trip to the market.
Dot and her Mum bought oranges, a bun, leafy greens and a cup of coffee. Create a train that carries items you might find at the market.
– Paper Roll / Egg Carton Train.
Take Teddy for a ride on your very own homemade train.
– Cardboard Box Car and Train Tunnel.
Take your train through the City Loop with this fantastic box tunnel.
– Geography Project: My Place in the World.
Teddy visited lots of destinations around the world. Get to know your place in the world with this brilliant geographic activity.
Since Australia is both a country and a continent, you will include it twice. Discuss this fact by making comparisons to other countries / continents.
Find templates for a map of Australia, including plain coastal, plain States and labelled States here:
Lessons by Romi Sharp
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal or classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written permission.