The Mud Pony Discussion Guide
Discussion prompts for the tale of a Pawnee boy who longs for a pony of his own
- Grades: 3–5
Creating Interest in the Book
Ask students if they have ever ridden a pony or a horse. Invite those students who have ridden to share their feelings about riding. Point out that in this book, author Caron Lee Cohen retells a Native American tale about a Pawnee boy who longs for a pony of his own. Turn to the back cover, read the text, and show the illustration. Invite students to find out what happens to the boy and his mud pony.
- Point out that Native Americans were the first people to live in what is now the United States. Explain that Native Americans have long believed that land, trees, and animals are gifts from Mother Earth — the great power of nature.
- Discuss with students Native American folk tales or other folk tales they have read. Lead students to realize that these stories had been passed down orally for generations before they were written down. Folk tales are often about ordinary people.
Setting the Stage for Independence
Ask students to think about folk tales they have been told or have read on their own. Have any of these stories involved a person showing great courage and heroism? From where do these people, or any people, get their courage? Point out that this Pawnee folk tale is very old and has been passed down orally through the years, as have all folk tales, until it was written down. Also point out that, because there are many events, words that tell when something happens are included in the story to help readers understand the order of events. Have students look for these time clues. As they read, encourage students to list words and ideas they don't understand on a separate sheet of paper.