On the surface, this poem is about a child who thinks a statue of a dog is a real dog. The child narrator visits the statue, thinks the hound looks real, and even tries to bribe the dog to come down for an ice cream cone. Beyond the surface, this poem shows what it’s like to see the world innocently through a child’s eyes.
“The Hound Upon the Hill” provides an opportunity for children to discuss what’s real, not real, and what they may have thought was real at one time. It is also an opportunity to discuss statues, what they mean, and why we have them in our culture.
- As a class or in small groups, research a statue in your local community. What is it of? What does it stand for? What is the history behind the statue?
- Have students think back to vacations or places they have visited and draw a statue they saw and share with the class or group.
- After reading the poem again to the class, have students write an “alternative ending” of sorts where the hound comes to life. What happens then?
As a class, help students learn through research about the value of statues, how far they go back in history, and why they seem to be such an important part of human culture. Share some specific examples and images of important statues throughout the world.