Level 3 Easy-to-Read Book ~ Grades 1-3

Written by Dori Chaconas
Illustrated by Lisa McCue

Viking Children's Books
ISBN 0-670-03602-1

Even though Cork is a short muskrat and Fuzz is a tall possum, they can still be best friends. Or can they? "I am older," Cork said. "I need to be taller. It is a rule." Can friendship break such rules?

Knowledge: Cork's Rule
Cork believes it was a rule that he should be taller than Fuzz because Cork is older.  Is this really a rule, or a mistaken belief? Did Cork have other mistaken beliefs in this story?

Application: Fuzz's Rule
Cork is a vegetarian. Fuzz says he eats a balanced diet. On the chalkboard, write down the list of Fuzz's foods from Chapter 1. Discuss which food group each item might belong to. Does Fuzz really eat a balanced diet?

How is a muskrat's tail different from an opossum's tail?
Is each animal's tail used for a specific purpose?

Make a list of good rules for being a good friend.
Make a list of silly made-up rules for  your classroom.

Body/Kinesthetic: Cork's Rule
Cork believes that if a person holds his arms straight out at his sides, the measurements from finger tips to finger tips will be the same measurement as that person's height.  Do you think this is true? Measure several students to find out.

Make up a song for Fuzz to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas, beginning each line with the words, "On the first day of summer, a muskrat gave to me..."  Can you remember each new line of the song without writing them down?

Cork put Fuzz through a lot of trouble in trying to make him shorter, yet Fuzz still wanted to be Cork's friend. Would you still want to be friends if your friend wanted you to:

Share your dessert?
Be mean to another student?
Copy your homework?
Sit with another student at lunch?

Have a class discussion about what type of things might make or break a friendship.

Think of one rule that's very important to you.  It can be a school rule, or a home rule, or a friendship rule.
Write a paper telling about that rule and why you think it's important.

Playground challenge: Pretend a piece of playground equipment is a tree branch and you are Cork.  How long can you hang from your hands before you have to let go or fall?

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       2006 Dori Chaconas