It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a picture book written by Charles M. Shultz, based on the comic strip Peanuts. You can read the book with your class or watch the video and be sure that you’ll have a fine seasonal experience without any scary moments.
Here are three lesson plans we like for upper elementary, to help incorporate this classic Halloween story into your curriculum.
The story has three main plot lines, each surrounding a specific character in the story. Linus, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy are the centers of the three different plot lines in the story. Most students think of a story as a single plot line, so using a plot line worksheet to examine the three plot lines of the story will help students grasp the idea completely.
After investigating the different main plot lines of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown , ask students to come up with their own plot lines for a Halloween story. Then group students into groups of three. Ask the students to write their own stories and to include all three plot lines in their group. It will make some zany stories, but is a lot of fun!
Points of view
In each main plot line, there are multiple perspectives on what’s happening in the story. For instance, in Linus’s plot line of waiting for The Great Pumpkin, Linus has one idea of what’s happening while Sally has another perspective. Sally thinks Linus is silly waiting for The Great Pumpkin but decides to go along.
When Snoopy rises up out of the pumpkin patch, Linus is convinced it’s The Great Pumpkin but Sally sees it is just Snoopy. Talk about each perspective with your students and how the different characters have different experiences of the same events in each plot line.
Divide students into groups and give each group one character from the book to work with. Let each group work out how their character saw the story, and have a volunteer from each group explain the events that took place from that character’s point of view.
Snoopy pretends to be a World War I flying ace and gets into aerial dog fight with the Red Baron. Although Snoopy’s dog house is not a real Sopwith Camel and Snoopy is not a real fighter pilot, his imaginary adventures are based on reality.
The Red Baron was the nickname of German Fighter Pilot Manfred von Richthofen, and students can learn more about him and about World War I at these websites:
Snoopy then goes to join Schroeder, who plays some WWI songs:
- “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary“
- “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag“
- “There’s a Long, Long Trail“
- “Roses of Picardy“
Use these songs to discuss the history of WWI to explain what the war was like for the young men who fought in it, starting off with the first two songs that are jubilant about going to war and leaving home. Talk about how many of these young men had never left home before and fighting was an exciting opportunity. Then play the second two songs and talk about how the war wasn’t what people thought it would be and that many young men never returned home. Snoopy’s reactions to the songs are a good visual explanation for younger students about what these songs mean.