The Ancestry of Otis

Fans of Otis often ask, “What kind of dog is Otis?”  While the answer is found within all the chapters of Otis Goes to School, his canine heritage is addressed in Chapter 2.  A mutt, perhaps–but a mutt with history, devotion, loyalty and love.  What kind of dog is Otis?  The best.

“There had been many chapters in his life, and somewhere in his line of doggie ancestry of Black Labrador Retrievers and Water Spaniels, he had inherited–and now proudly wore–a white fur tie, perfectly in the middle of his broad chest.  This trait, of course, made him a gentleman…

The boy liked to show them Otis’ special polka-dotted tongue, which the boy said meant that one of his relatives along the way must have been a Chow-Chow dog.  What a badge of pride–he was part Black Lab, part Water Spaniel, and had the blood of a strong and mighty Chow… and the tongue to prove it!  Otis would always pant extra big when the boy was explaining this part of his heritage.”

As your children read Otis (or as you read it to them), you will come across words that are new to them… therein lies part of the purpose of the way this story is written: challenging and building their creative vocabulary, stretching the limits of their imaginations, and opening their eyes to the broadened world around them.  The definitions below are just a few of the descriptive words that color the landscape of Chapter 2.  Check out more bold, beautifully bamboozling words in the Vocabulary of Otis.

Chow-Chow – a strong dog breed originally from China, known for looking like a puffy lion with very thick fur.  They are also known for bluish-black tongues and curly tails.

Labrador Retrievers – the most popular breed of dog in America, very playful and easy to train.  They are good with children and families, and they are often used as guide dogs and therapy dogs.

Water Spaniel – a American dog breed that naturally loves the water, and is very good at hunting and retrieving birds.  They are very playful and usually friendly, and they have lots of energy.


For more Otis-related vocabulary, please visit the Vocabulary of Otis page.

Please visit the Excerpts page to read parts of the story, and share with your children. 


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