Waggit's Tale

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He is nameless. He is homeless. He is lost.

Until he is found . . . by a team of mutts who shelter him and teach him how to survive the wilds of the city park.

And so he becomes Waggit, the best hunter and tracker in the pack.

But life in the park is dangerous and uncertain. In winter, food and warmth are scarce. Another team of wild dogs is a constant menace. And there is always the fear of capture by park rangers. Waggit can't help feeling that something is missing . . . something warm and cozy . . . and human. Then one day everything changes and Waggit must face a new threat and a new choice.

Peter Howe's tale of an abandoned puppy's search for home is an exciting mix of humor, adventure, and suspense. Most of all, it is a story of how love can turn strangers into family.

Curriculet Details
56 Questions
40 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring inferences and theme, as well as annotations describing vocabulary and characters. Students will explore the themes of family and the importance of being yourself. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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1

Look at the map on the two previous pages. Be sure to read each label. Use the map to help you visualize the story as you read. 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Using context clues (the words around an unfamiliar word), we can guess that hackle means_______. 
This story is in the fantasy genre. Fantasy stories have things that are not realistic, such as talking animals. Fantasy stories also often have characters that go on journeys or quests. Keep these things in mind as you read this story. 
In this story, you will read the thoughts of dogs and their language as they talk to each other. Because they are dogs, they use words and names that are different from the words and names used by humans. Use the glossary in the back of the book when you need help understanding a word used by the dogs. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why do you think the scruffy brown dog's name is Lowdown? 
A pedigree is a record of the family line of a dog, showing it to be a pure breed. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
If Tazar's mood is black like his coat, which of these words could describe it? 
When the dogs talk about Skurdies, they are talking about people who are homeless. 
Sauerkraut is chopped sour cabbage that some people eat on hot dogs and sausages, as in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
From the clues in the text, what do you think a curlytail is? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why do you think Waggit's owner abandoned him in the park? Use evidence from the text in your answer. 

2

Waggit's park may have looked like the picture below on that first morning. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
What do you think Tazar means when he says "If you care to live, you must live with care"? Use evidence from the text in your answer. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
How is Waggit probably feeling now? 
A "balustrade" is a railing on a bridge. Think about how the dogs may have gotten the cans on top of the balustrade. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
A synonym is a word that means the same as another word. Use the define feature to read the definition of haughtily. Which of the words below is a synonym for haughtily? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.5
Think about all of the characters we have met in this story so far. Which character is like a grandfather? 

3

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
What are "Ruzelas on longlegs"? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7
Look at the photo in the annotation above. What are some things in the photo that Waggit probably saw while sitting on the rock? 
Use this photo to help answer the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Tazar tells Waggit to lick Cal's wound to heal it. Which of the following is another reason that Tazar tells Waggit to lick Cal's wound? 
Below is a photograph of park rangers on their horses. (This annotation contains an image)

4

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7
Look at the illustration on this page. What can you predict about the story from this picture? 
Think about how much Waggit's life has changed in two short days. Think about how he is changing as well. Keep this in mind as you read. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Which of the following is a synonym for the word gait? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2
Why can't Waggit kill the squirrel? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
How is Raz's point of view about the squirrel different from Waggit's? Cite details from the story to support your response. 
"Luggers pulled by longlegs" are horse-drawn carriages. (This annotation contains an image)
A "cur" is an aggressive dog or a dog in poor condition, also known as a "mongrel" or a "mutt." Tashi is insulting Tazar's team by using this word. 

5

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. Use the define feature and read the definition of shrewdest. Which of the words below is an antonym for shrewdest? 
The statue of the dog probably looked similar to the one pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2
Why do you think Waggit feels that surviving danger has made life seem better? What does that tell us about how Waggit is changing? 
Watch this video on making inferences. Use what you learn to help you answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Using the evidence from Lowdown's story, what is the lockup? 

6

Watch this video on themes in stories. Use what you learn to help you answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2
Which of these themes have been explored in the story so far? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Why does Tazar blame himself for Cal getting stuck in the cage? 
Chapters 1-6 

7

Waggit's park probably looked like this park covered in snow. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Which of the words below are clues that tell us the Cold White is snow? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
In a human's point of view, why would dogs be at fault? 

8

Look at this picture of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Use it to help you answer the next question. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7
Looking at the picture of the parade above and thinking about the dogs' comparison of it to the Uprights walking through the park, what do we know about how dogs hear? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Why do you think Tazar hates Uprights so much? What could have happened to him to make him that angry? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
What does it mean that Lowdown could visibly grow with this compliment? 

9

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
Think about what you know about Tazar's camp and Tashi's camp. From your point of view, which camp would you rather have? Use details from the text to explain your answer. 
A sentry is a guard who keeps watch over something, as in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
Dogs that are submissive are usually either scared or they lack confidence. A submissive dog will have its head close to the ground, as in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Tazar shows _________ by welcoming new dogs into his family. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
What does Lowdown mean when he says Alona is going to have a hard time fitting in? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Use the define feature to help you answer this question. To supplement something is to 
"Obsequious" means to be obedient, as a servant. Wilbur serves Tashi and obeys him. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Tazar is shocked to hear that Tashi didn't help his team. This shows that Tazar is 
Tashi is described as being similar to a Pinscher breed, like the dog in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)

10

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
What is the difference between how Lowdown works with Tazar and how Wilbur works with Tashi? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Using the clues around it, we can figure out that carnivores are animals that eat 
To be "beholden" means to owe thanks to someone or have a duty to help someone in return for something they did. Alona helped them find the stash of food, so they would be beholden to her for that. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why would the meat need to be protected from Gordo? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
Do you agree with Tazar's point of view that a safe home is more important than having the stash? Why or why not? 

11

The dogs are staying warm in the same way that Emperor Penguins stay warm in Antarctica. Watch the video clip below to see how the penguins rotate for warmth. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
The mysterious time the dogs call the "Season of Lights" is 
The puppies were given to the older people as a Christmas gift, but the people didn't want them and left them in the park. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2
Summarize how Magica and Gordo got sick. Use details from the text in your answer. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Gordo is so worried about Magica being angry at him that he feels ______ when she forgives him. 
We know the dogs truly forgave Gordo for his mistake because they never talked about it with him again. They knew he wasn't trying to hurt Magica, and they didn't want to make him feel bad about it anymore. 

12

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why is Gordo more protective now than he was before? 
Someone with a "genial" disposition is someone who is welcoming, pleasant, and happy. Does this describe Lowdown? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Remember that an antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. Which of the words below is an antonym for tantalizing? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Waggit and Tazar share many character traits. The highlighted lines show that like Tazar, Waggit is 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.2
In the last two chapters, we have seen a new theme develop in the story. This theme is 
Chapters 7-12 

13

To brandish something means to wave it as a threat or in anger. The worker was chasing the dogs while waving a spade, which is a shovel, like the one in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Where do you think Tashi and Wilbur are? Do you think Tazar's team will see them again? Why or why not? 
"Perpetual" means never ending or changing. Cal and Raz will always act like young dogs. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
What makes Waggit think the woman is nice? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Waggit may want to keep the woman to himself because 

14

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.5
How has the change of the setting, from the park to the Great Unknown, changed the mood of the story? Use details from the text in your answer. 
Bloomingdale's is a famous department store in New York City. (This annotation contains an image)
When something is a "novelty," it is new or unusual. Having food every day is new for Waggit. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
What happens to dogs when they are taken through the door at the end of the hallway? 
A service dog is a dog that works with a person to help them in some way. Many service dogs help people who are blind or disabled, and are allowed to go everywhere with them. The dog in the picture below is helping a disabled man in a wheelchair by carrying a bag for him. (This annotation contains an image)

15

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7
Look at the picture above. How does Waggit look like he's feeling? 
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician who lived from 1685 to 1750. The video below is a musician playing one of Bach's pieces of music on a cello. Use the video to help you answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7
What did you hear in that music by Bach that might make Waggit like it? Think about what the author said about dogs and music in the last paragraph. 
To be "civilized" means to be polite and well-mannered. Think about how Waggit's civilized life in the woman's apartment is different from his park life. Is one better than the other? 
Jack probably looks like the dog in the picture below. Jack Russell Terriers are known for having a lot of energy. (This annotation contains an image)

16

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Why is Waggit feeling so scared? 
Polly is a golden retriever and probably looks like the dog in the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why do you think Waggit didn't leave the woman and return to the team when he had the chance? Use details from the text in your answer. 
A "monologue" is a long speech by one person. Jack has monologues often. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9
Think about Waggit's journey from the beginning of his life to now. Has his life gotten easier or harder? Is his journey similar to any other characters' journeys in other stories you have read? 

17

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
Think about the price of structure that Waggit has paid for his happy life. In your point of view, is it worth it? Would you make the same choice if you were Waggit? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4
Remember that a synonym is a word that has a similar meaning to another word. Use the define feature to read the definition of exhilarating. Which of these words is a synonym for exhilarating? 
Think about Tazar's feelings towards humans. Do you think he could ever live with a human and be happy? He talks about freedom, but could his pride about his freedom be covering his sadness about not having an owner who cares about him? 
Here we see again the theme of being yourself. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Why does Lowdown say this will be the last time they will see each other? 

18

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.6
Do you agree with the highlighted lines? Why or why not? Use evidence from the text in your answer. 
Chapters 13-18