Notes from a Liar and Her Dog

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by Gennifer Choldenko
ages 9 and up
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2001, ISBN 
0-3992-3591-4 (hardcover)
Puffin, 2003, ISBN
0-1425-0068-2 (paperback)

Scholastic Literature Circle Guide made available courtesy of Scholastic Book Clubs.

Use the following questions and activities to get more out of the experience of reading
Notes From a Liar and Her Dog.

Questions
1. When Ant is called into the office at the beginning of the story, what has she done wrong? Name three things that you learn about Ant and her family in this scene.
2. Ant overhears her parents talking about her father’s job. What is Ant afraid might happen? How does she feel about the conversation she hears?
3. Retell what happens the first time that Ant takes Tashi to the zoo. Describe the events in the time order in which they happened.
4. Ant says she has trouble lying to Harrison’s father because he believes anything she says. Why is it so easy for Ant to lie to everyone else?
5. Compare the way that Ant’s mother and father treat her with the way she thinks her “real” parents would treat her. Why doesn’t she want to believe that Mr. and Mrs. MacPherson are her “real” parents?
6. What advice would you give Ant and her sisters about their father changing jobs and making the family move? Think of two things they could do to make the situation better.
7. Did you expect Ant to win the Math-a-thon? Why or why not?
8. Think about the title of the book. Why is Ant’s dog so important to the story? What does Tashi mean to Ant?
9. Analyze what has gone wrong between Ant and her mother. Explain their relationship first from Ant’s point of view, then from her mother’s point of view.
10. What did you learn about Ant’s feelings when she takes Tashi to the zoo for the second time? How does Ant feel about the dog? About her mother and Just Carol? About herself?
11. How do Elizabeth, Ant, Just Carol, and Mrs. MacPherson work together to keep Mr. MacPherson from moving the family to Connecticut?
12. By the end of the story, important things have changed for Ant. Do you think she will change and stop being a liar? Give reasons to support your answer.
13. Who do you think is the “hero” of this story? Explain why you think this character did something brave and admirable.

Note: These literature circle questions are keyed to Bloom’s Taxonomy as follows: Knowledge: 1-3; Comprehension: 4-5; Application: 6-7; Analysis: 8-9; Synthesis: 10-11; Evaluation: 12-13.

ACTIVITIES

1. “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is a famous fable that teaches a lesson about lying. A shepherd boy cries out that a wolf is after his sheep when it isn’t true; when a wolf really does come and the boy cries for help, nobody believes him. Write your own version of the story with updated characters and illustrate it. Or create your own original fable that teaches a lesson about lying and add an illustration.
2. Create a poster or brochure advertising for volunteers to work in the zoo. Feature the duties a volunteer would have to perform, qualification and qualities required for the job, and what a volunteer would gain by doing the job.

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