Paired Texts > Standing out in the Herd
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
In Mahani Zubaidy Gunnell's "A Cobra in the Garden," Gunnell discusses her time living in Borneo and the cobra that lived in her garden there.Pair “A Cobra in the Garden” with “Standing Out in the Herd” and ask students to compare Mahani Zubaidy Gunnell’s respect for the cobra with the cows’ respect for Toro. Why does Gunnell respect the cobra? How does this compare to the reasons that the cows respect Toro? How do both texts explore how different species can coexist?
In this classic fable by Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, a tiny mouse proves to a powerful lion that she is greater than she seems.Pair “The Lion and the Mouse” with “Standing Out in the Herd” and ask students to discuss how both texts explore unlikely friendships between animals. How do the animals in each text benefit from their relationship with one another? What can readers learn about their relationships with others from the animals in the text?
In Adrienne Su's poem "Peaches," a speaker describes being the child of Chinese immigrants in America.Pair “Peaches” with “Standing Out in the Herd” and ask students how the speaker of the poem and Toro experience life with two identities. How do these dual identities impact the speaker and Toro? How do both Toro and the speaker in the poem differ from their parents? Could either survive in their parents’ world? Why or why not?
In Jennifer Mann's poem "The Mysterious Egg," farm animals wait for a mysterious egg to hatch.Pair “Standing Out in the Herd” with “The Mysterious Egg” and ask students to discuss the unlikely animal families in the two texts. How do the cows treat Toro when he joins the herd? How does this compare to the farm animals’ treatment of the turtle in the poem?
In Meredith Engel's "Chiron: The Wisest Centaur," Hermes, Messenger of the Gods, interviews Chiron the Centaur about his mentoring of young heroes.Pair “Standing Out of the Herd” with “Chiron: The Wisest Centaur” and ask students to discuss how Toro and Chiron found new families. How do Toro and Chiron differ from their new families? Despite these differences, how were they treated by their new families? Do students think that Toro and Chiron miss being around their own kind? Why or why not?
A young girl finds a stray dog and wants it for a pet, but her parents are resistant.Pair “Standing out in the Herd” with “Stray” and ask students to discuss how both the dog and the giraffe found a new family. What do the dog and the giraffe have in common? How were both animals welcomed into new families? What role does family play in helping both humans and animals feel supported?
In "No Petting the Orangutans, Please!" Arlene Mark describes her experience working to rescue orangutans.Pair “Standing Out in the Herd” with “No Petting the Orangutans, Please!” and ask students to compare how human actions can help or harm animals in both texts. How do human actions help the giraffe in “Standing Out in the Herd”? How do human actions both help and hurt the orangutans in “No Petting the Orangutans, Please!”? What do these articles suggest about what people can do to help animals?
In "Champion of Giraffes," Elizabeth Armstrong Hall describes how zookeeper Amy Phelps cares for giraffes at the San Francisco Zoo.Pair “Standing Out in the Herd” with “Champion of Giraffes” to give students a different example of life in captivity for a giraffe. How is life in the cattle herd different from life in the wild for Toro in “Standing Out in the Herd”? How is life at the zoo different from life in the wild in “Champion of Giraffes”? How do both Andrew in “Standing Out in the Herd” and Amy in “Champion of Giraffes” try to help the giraffes adjust to life in captivity?