• The Wolf in Tempelhof

    Eve Sussman, The Wolf in Tempelhof. Chromogenic print, 39 1/2 x 49 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Man’s Best Friend

English Language Arts

Grade 2

3: Building Bridges with Unlikely Friends

3 30-minute lessons

compare and contrast

Why do authors use figurative language in life lessons?

I can use adjectives to describe characters.
I can create a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast characters.

Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Day 1

Begin with a general discussion about our relationships with animals. “What kind of animal am I talking about when I say, ‘man’s best friend?'”

Display the image The Wolf in Tempelhof, by Eve Sussman. Explain that it is a picture from a film, but do not share the title yet. “What kind of animal is in this picture? Is it man’s best friend? What do you see that makes you say that?”

Suggest that perhaps the wolf and the men in the image are unlikely friends.

Then explain to students that they are going to examine certain items in the picture and describe them. Explain that words that describe a person, place, or thing are adjectives. Provide students with several examples.

When students have a general understanding, give each student a sticky note and choose an object in the picture for them to describe. Each student will write an adjective to describe that item and place the sticky note on the board. Then go over the completed list.

Tell students that tomorrow they will read about an unlikely friendship between a dog and a boy in Henry and Mudge.

Day 2

Display the image The Wolf in Tempelhof. Remind students of their discussion about a dog being a man’s best friend and how that was depicted in the picture.

Explain to students that they you are going to read about a boy and a dog who have a wonderful friendship in the story Henry and Mudge.

Before you read, remind students that adjectives are used to describe people, places, and things. They are going to use adjectives to describe the characters in the story Henry and Mudge (their characteristics) (what they do, what they are like, and what they say.)

As you read, challenge students to pay close attention to the characters Henry and Mudge.

After reading, have students think, pair, and share at least two words to describe Henry and two words to describe Mudge.

Day 3

Have students recall Henry and Mudge or reread the story and have them think about their unlikely friendship and the characteristics of each character. Discuss the friendship between Henry and Mudge and what they learned.

Display The Wolf in Tempelhof again. Discuss again how the artist depicts a friendship between a man and a dog. How would you depict a friendship between you and an animal or Henry and Mudge’s relationship? Have students share their ideas.

Students will then draw a picture of their relationship with an animal, or they may draw a picture of Henry and Mudge’s. Students will finish by writing a sentence about their picture.

Have students then compare/contrast their drawings to that of The Wolf in Tempelhof.

Differentiation and Modifications:

Beyond Grade Level: Students may write 5 or more characteristics in their Venn diagram for each character to compare and contrast these characters with to provide more critical thinking. Students may choose two characters from previously read stories to compare and contrast.

At Grade Level: Students will complete a Venn diagram that has at least 3 characteristics for each character.

Below Grade Level: Students will complete a Venn diagram that has at least 2 characteristics to describe each character with a labeled Venn Diagram


Students will complete a Venn Diagram independently and explain that students are going to list characteristics of each character to tell how they are alike and how they are different.

Materials Needed

dry erase boards or sticky notes, construction paper

Venn Diagram


collage, character, characteristics, adjectives

Artwork in this Lesson

  • Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
    • Eve Sussman | The Wolf in Tempelhof

Texts in this Lesson

  • Clements: Tara and Tiree, Fearless Friends: A True Story
  • Rankin: Fluffy and Baron
  • Lawson: Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival
  • Rylant: Henry and Mudge: The First Book of Their Adventures