Can I Keep Him? by Robert McCloskey

Enhance reading abilities with an activity that enriches and expands children's language and emergent literacy skills.
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Use the following questions after the second or third reading of Can I Keep Him? There are questions for every one or two pages of the story.

  1. What does the little boy ask his mom about the dog he finds? ("Can I keep him?")
  2. What does she say? (She says no because dogs are too noisy.)
  3. What does the boy want to do with the kitten? (He wants to keep him.)
  4. Who is allergic to cat hair? (The little boy's grandma is.)
  5. What is happening in this picture? (The boy is pretending he has found a little fawn.)
  6. Have you ever seen a fawn? What does a fawn grow up to be?
  7. What is the deer doing? (He is ripping up the chair with his antlers.)
  8. What kind of train is in the picture? (It is a circus train.)
  9. What is the little boy pretending now? (He is pretending that he finds a little bear cub that has fallen off the circus train.)
  10. What is happening in this picture? (The little boy is asking his mom if he can keep the bear.)
  11. What is the problem with keeping the bear as a pet? (His mom says that bears smell bad.)
  12. How many tiger cubs does the mother tiger have? (She has three.)
  13. What do you think the boy is thinking? (He is wondering if his mom will let him keep a tiger.)
  14. Why does the boy think the tiger would be a good pet? (He doesn't bark, he has tiger fur, his paws are soft, and he smells nice.)
  15. What is the boy dreaming about in this picture? (He is dreaming that he wins the mystery prize.)
  16. What is happening in this picture? (Mom is vacuuming up the python's skin that it has shed.)
  17. What kind of place is the little boy imagining now? (He is imagining a place that is cold and icy.)
  18. What is the old man doing? (He is using a hammer to break the ice so the dinosaur can get loose.)
  19. What does the boy want? (He wants someone to play with.)
  20. Who does the boy bring home next? (He brings home a little boy named Ralph.)
  21. What do the boy and Ralph do outside? (They think about having a bird for a pet.)


The words listed below come from the story and its pictures. As you page through the book, ask the child to name the objects listed or talk about the actions portrayed. Words are listed for every two pages of story. Ask about other objects and actions shown in the pictures as you see fit.

  • sheep dog, telephone, fence, neighbors
  • kitten, broom, grandma, suitcases
  • pretending, forest, fawn, petting
  • feather duster, buck, antlers, hoofs, ripping, yelling
  • circus train, bridge, bear cub, engineer, engine, caboose
  • toilet brush, toilet, sleeping, holding their noses
  • zoo, zookeeper, tiger, cub, butterfly
  • shelf, cans, tiger food
  • circus, trapeze, horse, clown, ringmaster, python
  • vacuum cleaner, vacuuming, shed, skin
  • ice, dinosaur, hammer, coffee pot, clock, suitcase, mailbox
  • running, washing dishes, lonely
  • showing, laundry
  • beach, sand, birds

Excerpted from

Read Together, Talk Together
Pearson Early Childhood

Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!

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