Activity Overview

In this activity, students will identify a common theme in the story and support with evidence from the text. One of the themes that is very evident in Amos and Boris is friendship. Amos and Boris are an unlikely pair, yet they become the best of friends.

Steig conveys to the readers that even despite their drastic differences, Amos and Boris, became the best of friends. This asks the reader, what makes a good friend and why is friendship so special? Students can brainstorm a list of qualities they hope to find in a friend and then compare that to the qualities found in Boris and Amos’ friendship.

Other themes that students could choose are:

  • helping others
  • courage
  • similarities and differences.

Students can create a storyboard to visually show the theme of friendship.

Here is an example for friendship:

Example 1:

Boris shows friendship to Amos by saving him and offering to take him to shore before meeting with the other whales. During the long journey, they talk and become the best of friends. Amos told Boris that he was grateful and that if Boris ever needed his help he would be happy to give it.

Example 2:

Amos shows friendship to Boris by saving his life. A hurricane forced Boris up on the shore and the quick thinking mouse ran to get elephants to push Boris back to the sea.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Amos and Boris. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Amos and Boris you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 2-3

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Partner

Type of Activity: Themes, Symbols & Motifs

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/2/2] Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/3/2] Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in the story. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified and described.
Some themes are correctly identified.
No themes are correctly identified.
Examples of Theme(s)
All examples support the identified theme(s).
Most examples fit the identified theme(s).
Most examples do not fit the theme(s).
Illustrate Theme
Images clearly show connection with the theme(s).
Some images help to show the theme.
Images do not help in understanding the theme.

More Storyboard That Activities

Amos and Boris

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