Educator Resources

My books have been used by teachers and librarians in many ways, and here is a compilation of ideas and activities that you can use. If you have more ideas to contribute, feel free to send them to me!


A Froggy Fable

A Froggy Fable by John Lechner

A Froggy Fable is the story of a solitary frog who becomes frustrated by the changing world around him. Only after an unexpected adventure does the frog realize that some changes aren’t as bad as they seem.

Discussion Questions:

• Why is the frog upset when the birds and otters come to his pond?

• When the frog is lost in the forest, how do you think he feels? Have you ever been lost?

• When the frog finds his pond again, he doesn’t mind the birds and the otters and the pine tree — why do you think that is?

• The frog meets a new friend at the end of the book — can you tell who it is?

This book can also start discussions about nature, about ponds, or about frogs.

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Froggy Fable Activities by John Lechner

Download a Froggy Fable Activity Sheet

Download as PDF

Download as JPG

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Learn More about the book A Froggy Fable


The Clever Stick

The Clever Stick by John Lechner

The Clever Stick is a quiet fable about a stick who has one problem – he cannot speak. It is a story about creativity, self-expression, and finding your voice. It is a great book to start discussions about self-expression, shyness, communication, and discovering one’s talents.

Discussion Questions:

• Why is the stick sad? Have you ever been sad about something?

• The stick discovers a clever way to express himself. What are some ways that people express themselves?

• The other animals finally pay attention to the clever stick at the end of the book. Why is this?

• Activity: everyone has talents – what is yours? Draw and write about a talent that you have

Clever Stick Activity Guide


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Download a Clever Stick Classroom Guide
including more activities and discussion questions

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Learn more about the book A Clever Stick


Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest by John Lechner

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest, is a full color comic for young readers. The book features the inimitable Sticky Burr, a little prickly burr who has adventures with his friends Mossy Burr and Draffle the dragonfly.

Both books in the series are great introductions to nature, because they are inhabited by many forest creatures and insects. They also are great for new or reluctant readers, because of the action and humor in the stories, as well as the comic book format. Themes include creativity, self-discovery, kindness, bullying, and the natural world.

Discussion Questions:

• Why do the mean burrs pick on Sticky Burr?

• There are a lot of insects in this story — do you have a favorite insect? How are insects helpful to people?

• In real life, a sticky burr is a kind of seed. What other seeds can you think of? What kind of seed becomes an oak tree?

• Activity: Create a class newspaper, like the one in the back of this book. Assign tasks to different people, and work as a team.

• Activity: Create a one-page comic, using boxes and word balloons to tell the story.

Design Your Own Burr

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Draw Your Own Burr (PDF File)

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Sticky Burr Maze Tree Maze

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Sticky Burr Maze Tree Maze
(PDF File)

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Learn more about the book Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest


Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril

Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, by John Lechner

Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, is the second book about the plucky little Sticky Burr and his friends. In this new adventure, the burrs are getting ready for the harvest festival, unaware that Scurvy Burr is hatching a wicked plan with the aid of the evil Burweena.

This book contains more animals and insects to talk about, and incorporates the changing seasons. Themes include: friendship, teamwork, loyalty, and forgiveness.

Discussion Questions:

• Why do you think Scurvy Burr doesn’t like the harvest fair? What would make him like it more?

• In the autumn, many butterflies go south for the winter. What other animals go south when it gets cold?

• Why do you think Scurvy Burr does all the mean things he does? How do you think he could learn to be nicer?

• Activity: create a one-page comic about an animal, using boxes and word balloons to tell the story.

• Activity: choose a feeling (happy, sad, angry, jealous) and write a story about it. Why does your character feel the way they do? What happens next?

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Sticky Burr's Spooky Maze

Download a Sticky Burr Spooky Maze to print (PDF)

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Learn more about the book Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril


Additional Resources

Here are some links to teacher and librarian websites that discuss using my books in schools:

Watch, Connect, Read – by Mr. Shu

Teach Mentor Texts – by Jen Vincent

All-en-A-Day’s-Work – by Patrick Allen

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Find additional Sticky Burr activities & resources at the Sticky Burr website.

For older students: The Untended Garden is my blog about art and nature, which contains articles about writers, artists and filmmakers who use nature in their work.

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School Visits

I’m available for school visits to talk about writing, illustration, puppetry, and animation. As most of my work is geared towards grades 1-4, those are the ages that I’ve worked with the most, though I’ve also presented to younger and older children.

A typical presentation could involve any combination of the following, depending on the age group and the time limit:

  • Drawing pictures on an easel, with ideas from the students
  • Reading one of my picture books
  • Showing early drafts and sketches for my books
  • Talking about the process of writing and illustrating
  • Leading a story exercise where I draw a story with ideas from the students
  • Performing a puppet show and talking about puppetry

For more information, please contact me at john (at) fablevision.com

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