SPIKE: Ugliest Dog in the Universe

Spike: The Ugliest Dog in the Universe

SPIKE: Ugliest Dog in the World
Beach Lane Books | Simon & Schuster
40 pages

Available in: hardcover, ebook
hc: 978 – 1‑4424 – 1452‑5


Can an ugly dog with a heart of gold find a home? A warm and clever picture book for animal lovers of any breed.
When Spike, the winner of the Ugliest Dog in the Universe contest, is abandoned by his owner, Joe, the boy next door, is determined — against all odds — to adopt him. Things look grim until Spike foils a neighborhood catnapping plan — and saves the day!

The collages in this book were created from worn blue jeans, bits of used clothing, and colored papers.

Introducing Spike and Writing Project

A Look Inside

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Opening Slide - Spike
Animal Shelter Slide - Spike
Opening Slide — Spike
Animal Shelter Slide — Spike
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Classroom Activities

Spike’s Friends

Project Summary
(1 page)

30 Dog Profiles (30 pages)

Dog-themed Bibliographies

Picture books (2 pages),
Novels (2 pages)

Meet Spike’s Friends Mini-booklet

with writing prompt questions (2 pages)


Spike’s Friends

Booklet Folding Directions

How to fold a single sheet mini-booklet. (This project uses two sheets to make two “signatures” joined by a rubber band. (1 page)
Play Video about How to Fold a Booklet

How to Fold
a Booklet Video (7:51)

Story COmpletion Sheets

Final story writing sheets. (1 page)

Play Video about Dog Diaries

Student Samples (9:09)

Dog-on-a-stick / Cat-on-a-stick

Fold these simple dog and cat puppets.

Use the story prompts on the back to start developing a character and voice. Click on the images to download.

Supplies needed:

Printed sheet
Plastic knife
Double-stick tape

Discovering Spike’s Voice

Can a Dog Teach Kids
to Write in the First Person?

How do we teach our young writers what it means to create a convincing character’s “voice?” I stumbled on a possible answer when I finished writing and illustrating my picture book SPIKE, Ugliest Dog in the Universe. Oddly, I came to understand more about Spike’s first person narration because it was NOT first “person” — but was instead — “first dog.” In this story, Spike tells us some Big True Things: that beauty is a matter of perspective, (“Humans can be very ugly you know with those long swinging arms and no fur except on top” — ) and that being true to oneself is the strongest voice of all, the one place where love and courage stand a real chance.

Behind the Scenes

Spike, Ugliest Dog in the Universe, is a tale about a dog with a huge heart, a dog who is walking proof of the proverb: Don’t judge a book by its cover!

This tale includes bad guys and good guys, surprises, near misses — and a hero. Guess who? The illustration are collages made from old blue jeans and bits of cloth.

Debra Frasier assemblying Spike
Debra Frasier cutting jeans for book

Debra’s Books