Title: Amos and Boris

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Kristen Wise

Title: Amos and Boris RE 3240

Author: William Steig September 10, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy

Date of Publication: 1971

ISBN: 9780312535667

Other Designators: National Book Finalist

Reading Level: 4th grade

3.0 Scholastic Reading Level

4.0 GRL (T = 4th grade)

4.5 Lexile (810 = 4th grade)

4.7 AR (BL score)


What a beautiful story and book. Amos & Boris is a great story about adventure, friendship, and perseverance. Amos, a small mouse, had a thirst for adventure. He built a boat, prepared himself mentally, gathered supplies, and set out on his venture. Amos was enjoying being on the sea and commented about how he was just a small speck in the scheme of this giant world *which is my favorite part*. Amos is enjoying the night time views so much that he doesn’t even notice that he rolls into the ocean. Seeing despair in his future Amos thinks about what he end will be like. When all hope seems lost Amos meets a whale named Boris. Boris is a friendly whale who is curious about Amos, a small mammal creature, in the middle of the vast ocean. Boris and Amos become instant friends and Boris agrees to take Amos home. On the journey the two find out about one another and talk about their future plans. Boris returns Amos home and Amos tells Boris that if he ever needs help he would return the kindness Boris showed him. Amos had enough adventure for one lifetime and spent the next years enjoying being home. One day there was a terrible hurricane and Boris was beached. Fortunately Boris was beached near Amos’ home. Amos and Boris recognized each other immediately, even though years had passed. Amos said he would help Boris, although Boris did not know how. Amos went to find help and while he was gone Boris wondered if he would ever get back to the ocean. Amos returned with large elephants who helped Boris and the other whales back into the sea. With a single look back Amos knew Boris was appreciative of his help and would always miss his friend.


This is such a great book. The book teaches about the power of friendship and the power of even the smallest being. I love the thought that no matter your size or the capabilities other put on you, you can make a difference. This is a great message for students who can sometimes feel like they have no power in changing the world around them.

Curriculum Connections: Fourth Grade Language Arts/ Environmental Science

The reading level is 4th grade and would fit nicely with a 4th grade Language Arts and Earth/ Environmental Science Standard

Language Arts: Under the Writing Standards for 4th Grade Students

W.4.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.4.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

W.4.6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
Earth/ Environmental Science:

EEn.2.8: Evaluate human behaviors in terms of how likely they are to ensure the ability to live sustainably on Earth.
Teaching ideas
  1. Something I would love to focus on in this book is the power of the smallest to make a difference. This is a great opportunity for us to try and make a difference as a class. We will start a project that we will carry throughout the year. The students will be given a list of needy organizations that range from orphanages, eco issues, poverty, hunger, land and animal conservation, etc. The students will vote on the organization they want to help. As a class we will discover each other’s talents, skills, and abilities. When we combine these abilities we will come up with a way to contribute to our chosen organization. We will “Aim for Amos”. By the end of the year, if feasible, I would love to have the students take a trip to see how their efforts have made a difference—or if not feasible I would make a trip during one of our holiday breaks and take pictures of what happens. At the end of the year we will have a celebration where we re-read Amos & Boris. We will present what we have done to the parents and ask ourselves if we reached Amos. It will be fun, rewarding, and educational.

  2. Another great lesson that can be used in Amos & Boris is to allow the students to make their own picture book with a small creature making friends with a large creature and making a difference. We could learn about the small creature—its ecosystem, its mannerisms, its likes and dislikes and we can totally build the character. We will do the same with the big character. Then as a class we will build the story. We will create the adventure, the events, the climax and the resolution. By the end of the lesson the students should be able to identify the pieces of the story with not only their own story but in Amos & Boris as well.

RE 3240

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