Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One and Aunt Isabel Makes Trouble

by Kate Duke

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Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One Penguin Group


Create a memorable storytelling unit for your class with the help of this teacher's guide and two lively little mice! Curious Penelope and her beloved Aunt Isabel, the mouse stars of Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One and Aunt Isabel Makes Trouble by Kate Duke, introduce children to the elements of a good tale. Using the lessons here, you can enhance your students' appreciation of these books and familiarize them with the process of creating a story. The Aunt Isabel books can be enjoyed by a broad age group (preschool through early elementary), and the activities presented here can be adapted for different grades. They also include suggestions for use with students with special needs.

And now, it's storytime...

Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One

Story Elements: Giving the Solution a Twist!

By isolating basic story elements – setting, characters, problem, and solution – Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One shows students the building blocks of a story. This lesson gives them an opportunity to identify and modify these elements as a first step in creating a story of their own. A graphic organizer is provided to assist the lesson. Students should be encouraged to share their work as they develop their ideas. A large-group sharing time provides teacher and students with an opportunity to discuss and assess the final products.

1. Students will learn about the construction of a good tale through a reading of Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One.

2. Students will be able to identify the setting, main characters, problem, and solution of Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One with the assistance of your graphic organizer.

3. To develop their own skills as authors, students will be able to modify the tale by creating a new solution to Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One.

4. Students will be able to share their work with the class.


  • Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One by Kate Duke
  • Large paper and marker for webbing ideas (optional)
  • Photocopies of your graphic organizer (optional)
  • Pencils and crayons (optional)

    1. Prior to introducing Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One, ask students to share with you what they know about making a good story. You may wish to list or web their ideas.

    2. As you read the story aloud, pause now and then to ask questions and discuss story elements. For example, ask questions like: Who are the main characters? Why is it important for Aunt Isabel to add a problem to the story? How do you think Lady Nell will solve the problem?

    3. Using your self-created graphic organizer, assist the students in listing the setting, main characters (you can list good characters and villains separately), the problem, and the solution. Some students may wish to do this independently.

    4. Have the students brainstorm a new solution to the story and write it down on a story graph. They can come up with more than one! As they work, encourage them to share their ideas. End the activity with a large-group sharing time. Don't forget to display their great ideas!

    5. For ESL and other special needs students: Rather than writing their ideas, they can draw pictures to depict each of the story elements, including their new solution. They can exercise their oral language skills when they share their work!

    Students' work can be evaluated throughout the lesson as well as during sharing time. The lesson provides assessment opportunities in all areas of language arts – reading, writing, listening, and oral language.

    Possible topics for your Graphic Organizer:
    Main Characters
    Good / Evil
    New Solution

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    Brought to you by Penguin Young Readers Group.

    The Penguin Group is the second-largest English-language trade book publisher in the world. The company possesses perhaps the world's most prestigious list of best-selling authors and a backlist of unparalleled breadth, depth, and quality. Penguin Young Readers Group features books by authors and illustrators including Judy Blume, Brian Jacques, Eric Carle, and beloved characters like Winnie-the-Pooh, Madeline, The Little Engine that Could, and many, many more.

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