Narwhal and Jelly

By Ben Clanton


Because the book writer and lyricist can’t include every single moment and word of a book, they need to choose the most important moments to tell the story. But how do they choose what to include and what to leave out?

 The most significant events or actions in the book are the ones that help tell the story. Certain events or moments in the story are told through dialogue, or narration.  Some moments are musicalized and sung.


1.     Read the book, Narwhal and Jelly to the class. If you do not have access to the book, you may choose another book.

 2.     Using a peer-share model, ask students to discuss the events of the story with their classmates. You may also ask them to write the plot of the story in their own words. Ask them to identify the main characters, the setting, and the plot (beginning, middle and end). Students may also identify the conflict, or problem in the story. Remind students to think about which moments are the most important to communicating the story? 

3.     Discuss or circle the moments that the students think might “sing.” Choose one of these musical moments to focus on. What would the song be about?  What is happening before the song that makes it necessary?  Why does the character need to sing instead of speak? 

Learn more about Ben Clanton and the Narwhal and Jelly books.