Tarzan: The Storybook

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SWBAT read "Tarzan" and compare it with the musical play version of Tarzan we saw performed at the local high school.

Big Idea

We are going to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the musical "Tarzan" performed by our local high school and the book "Tarzan of the Apes."


The Hook

15 minutes

Oftentimes, unfortunately, children are more likely to have seen a movie than read the book about the movie.  Movies draw children in and the child doesn't have put forth much effort to understand the movie like he or she does a book.  I am hoping to change that for my students.  There are some movies that I believe the students have read the book also.  I am hoping to engage the students in a conversation that will not only motivate the students to want to read the book for this unit, but also read a book and compare it to the movie in the future as well. 

I will start out by placing the following quote on the board:

"Don't judge a book by its movie."

We will then begin our class discussion where we will talk about books that the students have read that they have also seen a movie.  Some of the possible books and movies they may have seen and read include:

Hortin Hears a Who

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


Polar Express

The lightning Thief

Harry Potter

As a class we will discuss some of the similarities and differences between the movies and the books.

I will ask the students if they have ever heard someone say, "The book was much better than the movie." or "The movie was much better than the book."

"Why would someone think one was better than the other?"

"Have you ever felt that a movie or book was better than the other?"


Reading the Storybook Version of Tarzan

30 minutes

Next, we will be read "Tarzan: King of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I will let the students know that we will be comparing the book to the musical performance of Tarzan we saw at the High School.  As they read, they should be thinking of similarities and differences between the story and the play.  

(Note: If the musical or play version of Tarzan is not available, the movie version would work well for this lesson as well  We will be comparing all three versions, the book, the movie, and the play for this unit.)


Kid Stuff Records and Tapes. (1883). Tarzan: King of the Apes. Tarzana, CA : Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Compare and Contrast Activity

15 minutes

To compare and contrast the storybook version of "Tarzan" and the play version, we will create a compare and contrast foldable.  I have included instructions on how to create the foldable in the resources.  The foldable will have three sections.  On the first flap, I will have the students write "Book." on the middle section, they will write "Both" and on the third section, they will write "Play." Under each of these flaps I will have the students write the similarities and differences between the play and the book.  The differences will be written under the "book" or "play" flaps and the similarities will be written under the "both" flap.