Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant

Teacher Guide by Ashley Trudeau

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School Category!

Henry and Mudge Lesson Plans

Student Activities for Henry and Mudge: the First Book Include:

Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant, is the first story in a classic easy reader series about young Henry and his dog Mudge. The Henry and Mudge books have delighted many a new reader. The First Book introduces the strong bond Henry and his dog build and the plot is very relatable to young children.

This book is a great way to introduce key lessons to young students, including character mapping, making connections, themes, and analyzing vocabulary words. Including storyboards with these activities will enhance creativity and comprehension through the visual nature of storyboarding!

Henry and Mudge: the First Book Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Henry and Mudge Character Map Graphic Organizer

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

You can click on this map and create a copy on your teacher account. Feel free to use it as is, or to edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.


Physical Appearance

  • dog
  • floppy ears
  • straight fur
  • 180 pounds
  • 3 feet tall

Character Traits

  • loving
  • protective
  • friendly
  • likes to smell


  • "Mudge had floppy ears, not pointed. Mudge had straight fur, not curly."
  • "Then he loved to smell him."
Start My Free Trial

Henry and Mudge Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Copy Assignment

Another great way to engage your students is by creating a storyboard that uses vocabulary from, Henry and Mudge.

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using sentences and corresponding images. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text. The sentences and images validate the understanding of the word and the context that it was used in the novel.

Here are some ways to help your students find the meaning of the vocabulary words they choose:

    1. Use context clues: sometimes you can figure out the meaning of a word by reading the sentences that come before and after the unknown word.

    2. Sometimes, the author may tell the definition of the word right in the same sentence or in the following sentence.

    3. Picture clues may help define an unknown word.

    4. Look at the unknown word and look for parts you may know. Sometimes a new ending or beginning has been added or changed.

    5. Use a dictionary or glossary.

Here is a list of a few vocabulary words commonly taught with the story:


v. to give into anxiety; to be concerned about

”When he walked he used to worry about tornadoes, ghosts, biting dogs, and bullies."


n. a small, narrow river

”The birds flew past as he stood beside a stream, calling and calling."


adj. sad because one has no friends or company

”And Mudge woke up from his lonely sleep, then came running."

Other vocabulary words that can be used are: floppy, weighed, drooled, bullies, milky, soapy, sniffing, whined, shone, empty, and silent.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Henry and Mudge by creating visualizations.

  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

Identifying Themes in Henry and Mudge

Several themes are present in the book. Students can pick a theme to explore and should support their choice with specific details or events from the text. One prominent theme is “friendship”. Henry and Mudge become great friends. They learn how much they really care about each other when Mudge gets lost. They learn that they never want to feel like they’ve lost each other again.


Example 1

Mudge can't find his way home and Henry can't find Mudge. They are both very sad and miss each other, just like friends do.

  • Mudge: "He whined a little, alone without Henry."
  • Henry: "When Henry called and called but Mudge didn't come, Henry's heart hurt and he cried for an hour.”

Example 2

Henry and Mudge are happy when they see each other every day.

  • "Every day when Henry woke up, he saw Mudge's big head. And every day when Mudge woke up, he saw Henry's small face. "

Other themes that can be explored are: responsibility, pets, problem-solving, companionship, family, life lessons, and loyalty.

Start My Free Trial

Henry and Mudge Summary

Copy Assignment

In this activity, students decide what the important parts in the text are, and categorize them into the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Having students decide the beginning, middle, and end will help them break up the text, and make it easier to choose one or two main events to create. Students can plan their ideas with a partner or individually and decide what main parts they would like to add to their storyboard.

The storyboard below shows one example for the beginning, middle, and end, but you could set a number of frames for the students to use based on the ability of the student, or length of the text.

Example Henry and Mudge Summary


Henry is lonely. His parents agree that he can get a dog. Henry finds Mudge as a puppy, and Mudge grows to be three feet tall and 180 pounds. They become great friends and do everything together.


Mudge decides to take a walk without Henry and he gets lost! He is sad and misses Henry. Henry searches for Mudge, but can't find him. Henry is sad and thinks Mudge left him.


Henry realizes that Mudge loves him and would never leave, so he must be lost. Henry searches again and finds Mudge! Henry and Mudge continue to do everything together, and Mudge never leaves without Henry.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Make a storyboard summary of Henry and Mudge: The First Book.

  1. Make a picture that shows the beginning of the story.
  2. Make a picture that shows the middle of the story.
  3. Make a picture that shows the end of the story.
  4. Write a sentence under each picture.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

Making Connections in Henry and Mudge

Copy Assignment

Text Connections
Text to Text Connection that reminds you of something in another book or story
Text to Self Connection that reminds you of something in your life.
Text to World Connection that reminds you of something happening in the world.

Making connections is a very important skill to acquire and perfect. Henry and Mudge: The First Book is a great story for students to connect on many different levels. In this activity, students will be making text to text, text to self, and text to world connections. Students should choose which connection they want to make first and work to write a narrative for that. Once all three connections have been made, students can work on their illustrations.


  • Text: In Henry and Mudge: The First Book, Mudge likes to smell everything. "He smelled his lemon hair. He smelled his milky mouth. He smelled his soapy ears. He smelled his chocolate fingers."
  • Text: In Henry and Mudge: The Starry Night, Mudge likes to smell. "Mudge loved to hike and smell. He smelled a raccoon from yesterday. He smelled a deer from last night. He smelled an oatmeal cookie from Henry's back pocket.”


  • Text: Mudge likes Henry's bed. He likes to climb in with him. "But mostly he loved Henry's bed. Because in Henry's bed was Henry. Mudge loved to climb in with Henry. Then he loved to smell him."
  • Self: My cat Hazel loves to cuddle with me in my bed.


  • Text: Mudge gets lost. Henry is very sad and looks for him. Finally, they are reunited.
  • World:On the news there was a story about a young boy who was reunited with his dog after it was missing for a whole year.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows connections you have made with Henry and Mudge. Include a connection for text to text, text to world, and text to self.

  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify parts of Henry and Mudge that you connect with.
  3. Parts from Henry and Mudge go on the left side. The connections you make go on the right side.
  4. Create an image for each connection using scenes, characters, items, and text boxes.
  5. Write a description of how the text relates to another text, the world, and you.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

Start My Free Trial

A Quick Synopsis of Henry and Mudge: The First Book (Contains Plot Spoilers)

Henry is lonely because he has no siblings, and no children live on his street. He asks his parents if he could have a brother or sister, and they say no. He asks if they could move to a different neighborhood, and they say no. Henry asks if they can get a dog, and they say yes!

Henry searches and searches for a perfect dog. He has clear expectations, and when he sees a cute, small puppy, he knows it’s the one. Henry names his puppy Mudge, and Mudge does not stay small. He grows to one hundred and eighty pounds, three feet tall, and becomes Henry’s best friend.

Henry used to be worried about bullies, tornadoes, or other scary things when he walked to school, but now he has Mudge to protect him. All Henry’s worries are gone.

One day, Mudge decides to go for a walk without Henry. He reaches a point where he cannot smell home. Mudge is lost! He lies down and misses his friend, Henry.

Henry is worried that Mudge left him. He always thought they would be together forever. Henry cries until he realizes that Mudge loves him, and there is no way he left willingly, he must be lost! Henry searches and calls for Mudge. They finally find each other!

Mudge or Henry never want to feel the way they did when they were separated, so they decide to do everything together and never leave one another.

Essential Questions For Henry and Mudge: The First Book

  1. What makes a good friend?
  2. What does it mean to be responsible?
  3. Have you ever felt lonely? Was it a good or bad feeling?

Help Share Storyboard That!

Looking for More?

Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!

All Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans Ed Tech BlogElementary SchoolMiddle School ELAHigh School ELAForeign LanguageSpecial EdUS History and Social StudiesWorld History

Our Posters on ZazzleOur Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers
© 2018 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
Start My Free Trial
Explore Our Articles and Examples

Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class – Search for School-Safe, Creative Commons Photos (It Even Cites for You!)
Quick Rubric – Easily Make and Share Great-Looking Rubrics
abcBABYart – Create Custom Nursery Art
Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Henry and Mudge: The First Book   •   (Español) Henry y Mudge: El Primer Libro   •   (Français) Henry et Mudge: le Premier Livre   •   (Deutsch) Henry und Mudge: Das Erste Buch   •   (Italiana) Henry e Mudge: Il Primo Libro   •   (Nederlands) Henry en Mudge: het Eerste Boek   •   (Português) Henry e Mudge: O Primeiro Livro   •   (עברית) הנרי Mudge: הספר הראשון   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) هنري وMudge: الكتاب الاول   •   (हिन्दी) हेनरी और Mudge: पहले बुक   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Генри и Мадж: Первая Книга   •   (Dansk) Henry og Mudge: den Første bog   •   (Svenska) Henry och Mudge: Första Boken   •   (Suomi) Henry ja Mudge: Ensimmäinen Kirja   •   (Norsk) Henry og Mudge: The First Book   •   (Türkçe) Henry ve Mudge: İlk Kitap   •   (Polski) Henry i Mudge: Pierwsza Książka   •   (Româna) Henry si Mudge: Prima Carte   •   (Ceština) Henry a Mudge: The First Book   •   (Slovenský) Henry a Mudge: Prvá Kniha   •   (Magyar) Henry és Mudge: Az Első Könyv   •   (Hrvatski) Henry i Mudge: Prva Knjiga   •   (български) Хенри и Мъдж: Първата Книга   •   (Lietuvos) Henris ir Mudge: Pirmoji Knyga   •   (Slovenščina) Henry in Mudge: Prva Knjiga   •   (Latvijas) Henry un Mudge: Pirmā Grāmata   •   (eesti) Henry ja Mudge: Esimene Raamat