SEL Read Aloud: Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Whistle for Willie Book Cover


Peter is a little boy who wants to whistle. One day, he sees an older boy playing with his dog and whistling, so he tries to whistle but can’t. He spins around and makes himself dizzy.

Later, Peter sees his dog, Willie, and hides in a box. He wants to whistle in order to make Willie turn around, but when Peter tries, he still can’t. He draws a chalk line all the way back home.

When he gets home, Peter tries even harder to whistle, but he still can’t do it. He puts on his dad’s hat and tries in front of the mirror, but he still can’t. He pretends to be his dad when his mom walks by and notices what he is doing.

Peter goes back outside and plays by himself for a while. When he sees Willie again, Peter hides in the box and tries whistling at him, and it finally works. Willie even turns around to see who it is!

At home again, Peter whistles for his parents, and they are proud of him. They ask him to run an errand. Peter whistles on the way to the store and again on the way back home.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever quietly watched someone and admired something they were doing? Do you think anyone has ever done that with you?
  2. What is something you’ve struggled to learn how to do?
  3. How have you managed your frustration?
  4. How have you changed your approach?
  5. Why do you think Peter decided to keep trying to whistle on his own, rather than asking someone for help?

Read Aloud

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Copyright Notice

The image on this page comes from the book Whistle for Willie by Molly Bang. Copyright © 1964 by Ezra Jack Keats.