Author: Helen Lester

Summary: Rodney Rat has trouble pronouncing his words and is teased about being “Wodney Wat” at school. When a new student who likes to bully comes to school, much to his own surprise, it is “Wodney” who saves the day.

 WITS Connection: Ignore

WITS Lesson Plan (PDF)

Learning Outcomes

    1. Select your province to learning outcomes for this lesson.

Questions and Activities


  1. Hold up the book and ask if someone can read the title. Look at the title very closely. Is something odd about it? What do you think the real title might be?
  2. Can you tell from looking at the cover who the main character might be?
  3. Is this a fiction or non-fiction book?
  4. Does the character have a problem? If yes, what do you think it is?
  5. What is a rodent?


  1. How did his classmates act toward Wodney? How did their actions make him feel? They teased Rodney and asked him to say words he could not pronounce correctly.
  2. Could they have chosen to act differently? How did Wodney react? He ignored them.
  3. Do you like Camilla? Why/Why not?
  4. What is a bully?
  5. Why are the rodents giggling at Camilla? She is misinterpreting Rodney’s instructions during the game.
  6. How did Wodney become the hero? What actions did he take? Rodney was just himself and he became more confident.
  7. How did the characters change? They realized how it is positive to be different.
  8. It’s important to make good choices and respect differences. What did you learn about choices and respect in this story?
  9. What literary techniques were used in this story? Personification ( “fur prickled in fear”) and alliteration ( ”Hairy Hamster,” “Minifeet Mouse,” “Wodney Wat”).


    • Find a photo of a capybara and show it to students. Explain that Camilla is a capybara and discuss the rodent’s unique characteristics. It is a large aquatic South American rodent with webbed feet and no tail that is related to the guinea pig. It is the largest rodent in existence at about one metre long.
    • If you’ve read Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon with your students, try the following activities:
      • Use the Venn Diagram handout to assess students’ understanding of the characters in the two books. Students should describe how the characters in each story are different and how they are the same. Model a couple of descriptions to show students how to use the diagram. Examples are included in the illustration below:

        • Use the Problem Solving #1 handout to compare the problems faced by the characters in both stories and the choices they made to solve them. Use a separate sheet for each story.
      • Discuss what problem solving means. Making decisions that can help us to fix problems is called ‘problem solving.’ Sometimes you can make decisions on your own and sometimes you need help from other people. There are also times when you need others to make decisions for you. Organize students in pairs and ask them to talk about some BIG decisions they might make, keeping in mind these questions:
        • Was your decision fair?
        • How do you show you care for yourself and others?
        • What are the rights of the other person?
        • Do you have a responsibility?
        • Does your decision respect you? Others? Things around you?

    Model the steps for making decisions on the

Problem Solving #2 handout

    and then distribute the handout to students to complete on their own.