top of page

Dr. De Soto by William Steig

Age Range/Grade: 4-7; Preschool -Gr. 2

Theme: Outsmarting a trickster

Dr. De Soto is a kind dentist who takes good care of his patients. But one day a patient in need makes Dr. De Soto stop and think. Does he have to help every patient who comes to his door? 

Introduce the Cover

 

Question: What kind of doctor is Dr. De Soto? What kind of animal is he? What do you know about this animal? 

Predict: What do you think this book will be about?

Pause at...

Page 1

Point to...

The pig; the ladder

Ponder...

Who is the other mouse in the picture? Why is he on a ladder?

Talk about...

What are some other animals who would require a ladder?

Pause at...

Pages 2-3

Point to...

"extra-large;" "hoisted" 

Ponder...

What do you think "hoisted" means? What is the difference between large and extra-large?

Talk about...

Explain how Dr. De Soto is able to help the donkey. (Hint: Follow the string.) How does he hold his tools?

Pause at...

Pages 4-5

Point to...

"delicate;" "dainty;" "dangerous"

Ponder...

What do you think "dainty" means? What are other "dangerous" animals to mice?

Talk about...

Why do the De Sotos look out the window before opening the door?

Pause at...

Pages 6-7

Point to...

The fox's face

Ponder...

How is the fox feeling? 

Talk about...

Why won't Dr. De Soto help him?

Pause at...

Pages 8-9

Point to...

"Let's risk it." 

Ponder...

What does "risk" mean?

Talk about...

Why does Mrs. De Soto think they should treat the fox?

Pause at...

Pages 10-11

Point to...

Fox on his knees; Mrs. De Soto looking up

Ponder...

Have you ever needed help? 

Talk about...

What is Mrs. De Soto looking at? How is she feeling? How do you know?

Pause at...

Pages 12-13

Point to...

"Despite his misery;" "tasty little morsel;" "jaw began to quiver"

Ponder...

What do you think "despite" means?

Talk about...

Explain what is happening. What are the mice worried about?

Pause at...

Pages 14-15

Point to...

The gas on the fox's nose; "dreamland"

Ponder...

Why does the fox need to be sleepy? What is he dreaming about?

Talk about...

Who is the fox talking about when he is asleep? What does he want to do?

Pause at...

Pages 16-17

Point to...

The bloody tooth; "shabby of him"

Ponder...

Explain how Dr. De Soto pulled out the tooth.

Talk about...

What is the fox wondering? Do you think he will return the next day?

Pause at...

Pages 18-19

Point to...

"lay awake worrying"

Ponder...

What are the mice worrying about? When do they fall asleep?

Talk about...

Why is Dr. De Soto determined to help the fox? Can you predict their plan?

Pause at...

Pages 20-21

Point to...

The fox's mouth

Ponder...

What was the fox's joke? Did Dr. De Soto think it was funny?

Talk about...

What makes a joke funny?

Pause at...

Pages 22-23

Point to...

"caressed the new tooth with his tongue"

Ponder...

Can you "caress" your teeth? How are your teeth different from the fox's?

Talk about...

Why is the fox happy to have his teeth feeling better?

Pause at...

Pages 24-25

Point to...

"No one will see you again;" "he hummed while he worked"

Ponder...

What is the fox really thinking? What did Dr. De Soto put on the fox's teeth?

Talk about...

Why do you think Dr. De Soto is humming? Is he still worried?

Pause at...

Pages 26-27

Point to...

"Frank oo berry mush"

Ponder...

What was the fox trying to say?

Talk about...

You try it - clench your teeth and try to talk. What else will the fox have trouble doing?

Pause at...

Pages 28-29

Point to...

"outfoxed the fox"

Ponder...

How was the fox being tricky? How was Dr. De Soto being tricky?

Talk about...

Is it ever ok to trick someone? What were Dr. De Soto's choices?

Furthering the Conversation

Why did Dr. De Soto help the fox? If helping someone may hurt you, should you still do it? What if you could help someone, and still protect yourself?

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
bottom of page