Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley


Join Our Community

Access this resource now. Get up to three resources every month for free.

Choose from thousands of articles, lessons, guides, videos, and printables.

Leopold the giraffe is used to adoration and giraffe snacks. All that seems to be in jeopardy when a boy shows up with a giraffe balloon that is cheerful, bouncy, and flexible, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t require feeding. Leopold has some decisions to make about whether to accept or destroy his new rival. The illustrations are pure delight.

Possible Strategy Instruction


  • Check for understanding.
  • Infer and support with evidence. (On page 10, what does it mean when it says Leopold was struck by an idea?)
  • Make and adjust predictions; use text to confirm.


  • Flip the sound. Acacia tree. Two different c sounds make the word acacia tricky, especially since the second one doesn’t sound like /k/ or /s/ but like /sh/.
  • Cross-checking. Gone. Students who believe an e on the end always makes the vowel long will read this incorrectly but be able to hear that it doesn’t make sense.


  • Use punctuation to enhance phrasing and prosody. There are many opportunities to use punctuation, italics, and varied font sizes as clues to read with expression.

Expand Vocabulary

  • Tune in to interesting words and use new vocabulary in speaking and writing—glorious, admiration, gasped, gleaming, bobbing, dispenser, huffed off, prickly, sulked, pondered, scrawny, habitat.

All-Access Member Exclusive Content

This content is reserved for All-Access members. Consider upgrading your membership to access this resource.

Sign Up Now

No Thanks.

Already a member? Log In