The Emotional Life of Hobbes: a Rough Journey With a Happy Ending

All students face challenges, no matter how old they are. Some have difficulty recognizing and dealing with their own or others’ emotions in a constructive way. Discuss with your students how recognizing our own emotions can help us have more control over the way we feel and act toward other humans and animals.

Hobbes Goes Home is a story about a sweet dog who finds a loving home. It’s full of expressive illustrations, which are excellent in helping students identify similar situations and feelings that they and others might share with Hobbes. The richly detailed drawings also help create a hopeful mood and engage readers in the story as they witness the changes in Hobbes’ emotional state.

Read the book aloud to students. Then ask the following questions:

  • “What features in the illustrations of Hobbes help you understand what he’s feeling at each moment?” (Mention his eyes, mouth, facial expression, and body posture.)
  • “How do the illustrations add meaning to the text?” (They help us understand how Hobbes is feeling in the different situations.)

Have the class sit in a circle. Using the Emotions Dice Game, have students take turns throwing both of the dice at once. Use the emotion word that one of the dice lands on (e.g., fearful) to fill in the blank in the question that the other die lands on (e.g., What made Hobbes feel _______________?). Use the Hobbes Goes Home book to respond to the questions.

As a class, discuss ways to handle various interactions with humans and animals in a positive way.

Answer Key for Hobbes’ Emotions

  • Page 1: confused
  • Pages 3 and 20: nervous
  • Page 19: fearful
  • Pages 14 and 21: playful
  • Page 22: curious
  • Page 26: loved

Like these ideas? Please share them to help inspire other teachers to incorporate compassion for animals into their reading lessons!

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind