“Above all, a host must always be kind to his guests,” said Thidwick, the big-hearted moose. Agreeing to let one lazy Bingle bug hitch a ride on his horns, he soon becomes a slave to his own kindness. The following activities enhance the enjoyment of yet another fun book by Dr. Seuss.
Read the book aloud and discuss it with your students. Ask them to talk about times they have shared something with someone that never wanted to give it back. Did they still feel as friendly to that person? Was the situation resolved in a fair way? If not, did they learn an important lesson?
Divide students into two or three groups, depending on how many you have. Each group will do a brief skit (5 minutes or so) of the story but to give it a different ending than the one in the book. Each group works individually and does not tell the others what they will be doing.
Provide slips of paper for each group. The name “Thidwick” will be on one slip of paper and the names of the other story characters on other slips of paper. Have students in each group draw the names out and play the part they draw. Encourage them to be creative with their skits!
This simple game teaches us that “balance” is important in life. Demonstrate how, when building a tower of blocks, the total weight ends up being on the first block. Show how that as the tower grows, balance is important, or it will tip over.
Thidwick and his friends did not have a balanced friendship. The other creatures wanted Thidwick to carry their weight and keep his balance while they danced, spun their webs, drilled holes and climbed around on his horns.
In our own friendships, balance is important. One person should not be expected to do all the work or clean up after everyone else. Nor should one person always have the best place or best toys or most fun. The same principle applies in families. Working together means everyone has time to do other things they enjoy once their work is finished. Discuss the quote, “Many hands make light work.”
Have a volunteer come to the front of the class. Tell them you are going to see how many things they can carry at one time. Hand them some small items (pencils, erasers, paper clips, etc.), then begin adding larger items (rulers, notepads, small books, etc.) Keep adding to the pile until the child says, “I can’t carry anymore!”
Call up a second volunteer to assist the first. Tell the first student that they are welcome to hand things to the second student, and that you still have a lot that needs to be carried. As you keep adding to the items they are expected to carry, talk about how it’s unfair to pile things on one person if they cannot carry it all. Relate this to Thidwick and his unthoughtful friends.
Draw a line down the middle of the chalkboard. One one side, put “Good things about Thidwick.” (He cared about others. He was not selfish. He was patient and kind. He tried to help others.) On the other side of the board, put “Mistakes Thidwick made.” (He took care of everyone else but neglected his own personal needs. He allowed others to treat him rudely. He let his lazy, selfish guests continue to be lazy and selfish!)
Thidwick thought he must always be nice to his guests. It is important to be nice, but it’s also important to be honest. If others are taking advantage of us or being unkind, we should speak up and say so. Discuss what it means to have guests in the home and what it means to share. How should children respond if guests mistreat them? If they break house rules? Who should children tell when these things occur? Ask if they have ever had to hide a favorite book or toy because a guest was known to be destructive.
Encourage students to write a short story or poem about this Dr. Seuss book. A tri-fold booklet works well for this activity, and you can find directions for making one by clicking here. Once students finish folding them, have them write their stories and poems inside. They can also draw pictures, list the creatures who took advantage of Thidwick, or write their own solutions to his problem.
Next, give each student a moose graphic like the one found here. These can be colored and used to decorate the tri-fold book cover. Students may even wish to draw in some of the creatures who rode on his horns. When booklets are finished, they may be taken home to share with families or used to decorate your class bulletin board.
For work sheets and activities about Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose, click here. Students can take these home as handouts or complete them in class. If you keep them at school, they will make a nice bulletin-board addition. (Please note: in the answer section at the end of this activity, the answer should read “362 bees,” not 326 bears!)
When the annual shedding of horns is upon him, the big-hearted moose suddenly sees a solution to his problem. With one big toss of his massive head, Thidwick rids himself of all those selfish guests. Thanks to Dr. Seuss, he’s a much lighter (and wiser) moose when he catches up with his companions!