Book of the Week: The Runaway Dinner

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

The Runaway Dinner, by Allan Ahlberg

This is a great silly, nonsense book that reads like an extended version of “Hey Diddle Diddle” plus The Gingerbread Man.

Also, apparently I read this back in January 2011 and book talked it, whoops…

Allan Ahlberg has a bunch of other books, especially poetry books, that might be worthwhile to investigate.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Infer and support with evidence. At the beginning of the story, and several places in the middle, the author insists the story is completely true. Ask students if they agree, and ask them why the narrator would have purposely, blatantly lied like he did.

  • Reread text. A cumulative story like this has reread text kind of built into it. To infuse a lesson on author’s craft, talk with students about why the author may have chosen this device for the story. It’s not quite as sing-songy as “There Was an Old Woman,” so why does it still work?

  • Ask someone to define the word for you. Items like ketchup, carrots, and french fries can’t be easily defined using a dictionary. In younger grades, consider using realia to support this lesson so students will be familiar with the dining utensils and foods they encounter as they read.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!