It all begins one day when a fly goes flying, looking for something to eat, and a boy goes walking, looking for something to catch for the pet show. After the boy catches the fly, he is amazed to find out that the fly calls him by his name — Buzz!
Buzz’s parents think the fly is a pest, not a pet. However, the fly soon proves how smart he is with some quick flying — and earns the name Fly Guy. At the Amazing Pet Show, the judges tell Buzz, once again, that flies are pests, not pets. But when Fly Guy performs tricks for the judges — some fancy flying and a dive bomb into his jar — he is named the smartest pet in the show!
The adventures of Fly Guy and Buzz are filled with puns, slapstick humor, and hilarious, goofy illustrations; all guaranteed to keep beginning readers laughing . . . and reading!
About the Author
Tedd Arnold, a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of over 60 books, was born in Elmira, New York in 1949. Tedd moved to Florida with his family at age 10 and graduated from the University of Florida with a BFA. For 10 years he worked in textbook illustration, graphic design, and advertising before moving to New York City with his wife Carol and first son Walter. Soon a second son, William, joined the family, and Tedd published his first book, No Jumping on the Bed! Its success allowed Tedd to quit his day job and move back to his hometown, Elmira, to write and illustrate books and raise a family. Tedd, Carol, and three cats live there today. Both Walter and William are now grown and married.
Tedd’s first book, No Jumping on the Bed!, became an IRACBC Children’s Choice book and Parts was named one of Parents Magazine 50 All-time Best Children’s Books. Tedd is also a two-time winner of the ALA’s Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Hi! Fly Guy and I Spy Fly Guy.
Teaching the Book
Boy meets fly — and so begins a beautiful friendship. Hi! Fly Guy is the first in Tedd Arnold’s funny series about the amazing and irrepressible Fly Guy. The book provides an ideal opportunity to teach young students how to identify story elements including characters, setting, and plot. Activities engage students in learning about real flies, retelling the story, and creating their own amazing pet.
Theme Focus: Humor
Comprehension Focus: Story Elements
Language Focus: Context Picture Clues
Get Ready to Read
Model for young readers how to look closely at the illustrations in this early reader to learn what is happening in the story. Project the title spread of the book onto a whiteboard or screen or have students look at their own copies. Explain that the title page has the title of the book and the name of the author and illustrator. Ask students to point to and read the title of the book and then its author.
Next, prompt students to look carefully at the illustration on the title page and ask the following questions: Who do you think Fly Guy is? How is the fly in the picture different from real flies? What do his looks tell you about his character? Do you think this book will be funny or serious? Encourage students to add any more ideas they have about the illustration.
Preview and Predict
Ask students to predict how the fly gets his name — Fly Guy. What else do they predict might happen in the story?
Context Picture Clues
Introduce students to the following words from the book that have context picture clues that help explain their meanings. Ask students to watch for the vocabulary words as they read. Tell them to use clues in the pictures to help them figure out what the words mean.
Use the Hi! Fly Guy Vocabulary Cards printable and distribute copies to students.
- slimy (p. 2)
- boink (p. 6)
- stomped (p. 8)
- swatter (p. 12)
- judges (p. 18)
- fancy (p. 21)
- amazed (p. 22)
- award (p. 29)
Words to Know
Have students cut apart their vocabulary cards. Then read aloud each word meaning below. Ask students to hold up the vocabulary word that matches the meaning. Then ask students to show the illustration that helped them understand what each word means.
- To put your feet down with force (stomp)
- People who make the decision in a contest (judges)
- Gooey and disgusting (slimy)
- A flat tool for killing insects (swatter)
- Showy and amazing (fancy)
- A noise made from things hitting each other (boink)
- A prize in a contest (award)
- Filled with wonder (amazed)
As You Read
Reading the Book
Read the book aloud with fluency and expression, emphasizing its humor and silliness. Have students follow along in their own books, looking carefully at each illustration as you read a page. Give students time to connect what they hear in the story with what they see in the pictures.
Reread the book and ask students to read their copies at the same time. Cue them to read aloud certain words and phrases that you omit from your reading. If students are able, encourage them to read the text aloud with you.
Big Question: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about this question as they read. Write the question on chart paper or the whiteboard. Is a fly a pest or a pet?
Guide students to identify the characters, settings, and important events in the story, modeling how to ask questions in order to identify these story elements. Project the Hi! Fly Guy Story Elements printable onto a whiteboard or screen and model how to identify the story elements in Chapter 1.
Model: First, I’m going to ask myself: Who are the characters that I meet in this part of the book? Even though it’s not human, the fly definitely seems to be a character. I’ll write fly in the first row. Who is the other character? A boy named Buzz. I’ll write Buzz underneath fly in the same box. Next, I’ll ask myself about the setting of the story: Where does the story take place? The fly is flying outside and the boy is walking outside. So, I’ll write outside under Setting. Next, I’ll ask myself about the important event in Chapter 1. What happens? I think the most important thing is that the boy catches the fly and puts him in a jar as a pet. I’ll write that down under Important Event.
Guide students to identify the characters, setting, and important events in Chapters 2 and 3.
After You Read
Questions to Discuss
Lead students in a discussion of these focus story elements.
What is funny about the words and pictures on page 9? How is Buzz being silly? (Sample answer: Buzz thinks the fly knows his name, but the fly is just making its natural sound.)
2. Story Elements
Why do you think the two main characters — Buzz and Fly Guy — become friends? (Sample answers: Buzz is a nice person and feeds Fly Guy a hot dog; Fly Guy helps Buzz prove that he is an amazing pet.)
3. Picture Clues
What does the word tasty mean on page 2? What does the picture show? Who would find the rotten fish tasty? (Sample answers: The word tasty means: good to eat. The picture shows a rotten fish. A fly likes to eat rotten fish.)
Questions to Share
Encourage students to share their responses with a partner or small group.
Do you think a fly would be an amazing pet? Why or why not?
What other kinds of amazing or strange pets do people have?
Do you think this is a make-believe story or a story based on real characters? Give reasons for your answer.
Don't Forget the Big Question
Give each student a turn to answer the big question. Encourage students to give examples from the story and their own lives to support their answers. Is a fly a pest or a pet?
My Amazing Pet
Challenge students to use their imaginations to create an amazing pet of their own. Distribute copies of the Hi! Fly Guy Big Activity printable to students. Ask them to think of an animal they would like to have as a pet. It could be a special cat or dog or an unusual pet like an amazing raccoon. Have them draw a funny picture of the animal, name it, and describe why it is amazing.
Content Area Connections
Retell the Story
Have students work in groups of three to retell the story of Hi! Fly Guy. Begin by assigning one of the three chapters to each student. Then have them practice retelling their part of the story, using the words and pictures as a guide. Remind them to use their own words when retelling the story, not reread the book. Ask the students to retell the story to their group, one chapter at a time.
Fly Guy Maze
In this maze, Fly Guy and Buzz are trapped on a pirate ship. Challenge students to help them escape! Discuss with students the strategies they use to trace their way through the maze to the end.
Language and Art
A Superlative Pet Parade
Ask students to look again at pages 28–29 that show the winners of the pet contest. Explain that words like tallest, cutest, and smartest are used when three or more things are compared. The ending –est and the word most are used to describe these comparisons. Ask students to draw a pet that they describe with a word ending in –est or beginning with most. Then post the pictures in a pet parade in the classroom.
With the class, make a list of fascinating fly facts. Show students several websites that have basic information about flies. For example, visit the Stories and Children website. Ask students the questions about flies, share the answers provided, and discuss the detailed illustration and diagram of a fly. On a whiteboard or chart paper, write down the facts that students find most interesting and amazing.
Reading and Oral Language Connection
Rate the Book
Ask students to compose an opinion piece about Hi! Fly Guy using writing or dictation. Explain that an opinion is a person’s ideas or feelings about something and people frequently rate their opinion about a book or movie by giving it stars. Explain that if someone gives a book four stars out of a possible five stars, the book is very good. Give students the following story frame to give their opinion of the book, provide reasons for their opinion, and conclude by rating it with stars.
I think Hi! Fly Guy is ______________________.
One reason is ____________________________.
Also, I think that _________________________.
My rating of this book is: [number of stars]
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