How To Use Bob in the Classroom

Teachers and Parents

The Boar Named Bob is not a screen device. Activities are firsthand.

How to Use Bob in the Classroom

Bob is a wild boar who loves to play in the mud. When Bob meets Freddy the frog, there is even more fun for Bob in the mud, with his new friend. That is, until Bob smells corn and finds himself in a hog trap! Bob and Freddy learn about teamwork, friendship and overcoming obstacles in The Boar Named Bob.


In 1992, ten-year-old Cole Barker wrote and illustrated The Boar Named Bob as a writing project for his fourth-grade teacher. Cole lived life to the fullest. Cole’s life ended in 2017 at age thirty-five while skiing in the Colorado Rockies. Ms. Jeanne Lawrence, Cole’s teacher, brought his book to the family when she attended his memorial service. 

All proceeds from book sales go to the Cole Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund. Any graduating senior may apply through by completing and submitting the application.


Characters and notes:

Cole created Bob after Mr. Bob Kearney, Head Hog Hunter and local cowboy that owned hog dogs. On a cold, January morning, 1992, Mr. Kearney, his two sons, Bobby (Chicken) and Johnnie (John Henry), Mr. Brooksey Crow and his two sons, Brooksey Junior (Little Brooksey) and Bryan, Mr. Donnie Barnwell and his son, J J, Mr. Lindy Shipley and friend John Boy, and Cole Barker saddled their horses. The Cowboys took these young boys on their very first hog hunt. Ten of the cowboys rode horses, as Cole rode behind his best friend Bryan. The dog handler, Mr. Donnie Barnwell, managed the four hog dogs, including Red, Jethro and Ol’ Boxcar. One of the boys followed on a three-wheeler that pulled a small trailer. What an adventure!

Bob, an interesting looking creature captures children’s attention. There are few books written about wild boars. His appearance reminds children of dinosaurs, which they all seem to love.

Cole modeled Freddy Frog after the tree frogs that lived outside his bedroom window. That is why Freddy has such a strange appearance in the art. He is not a standard toad. A reader may think that Freddy is flying in one of the pictures; however, this is a foreshadowing technique. Freddy is not flying; he is jumping high!

The deer belonged in the woods. Cole was aware of creatures that lived in the woods, including racoons, possums, snakes, and birds.


Parents, teachers, and older readers can present the book with confidence, as it contains all the elements of a delightful story. Bob contains Premise, Plot, Character, Prose, and Theme. 

This is a happy book. It takes place on a sunny day, and Bob and Freddy went back home happily. 

Predicting outcomes: 

1.  Freddy and Bob heard something when they were playing in the mud. What was that? 

2.  Will Freddy be able to help Bob? 

3.  Does Freddy possess any special talents that might help Bob? 

Sequencing: 1:

1. Who did Bob meet first? 

2. Name the characters in the order they appear in the book. 

3. What did Bob say before they went home?

Adventure: Characters wanted to know what was on the other side of the creek and “explore new places.” 


Recalling Details/Comprehension: 

1. Name the three characters in the book.

2. Describe the setting in the book. Where did Bob live?

3. Why would Bob play in the mud?

4. What kind of day did Bob meet a friend? Who was the friend?

5. What time did Bob and Freddy get up?

6. One day while playing in the mud, what did Bob and Freddy hear? What did they later see? 

7. What did the deer do?

8. What did Bob and Freddy do?

9. Who was curious? What about?

10. What does explore mean?

11. What did Bob smell?

12. What happened next? Was it a good or tough situation?

13. Did the trap catch Bob and Freddy?

14. Did Bob let himself out of the trap? Why didn’t he?

15. Who opened the hog trap door?

16. Did Bob take his time coming out of the trap?

17. Who said kind words? What were they?

18. Fill in the blank: They went back home _(happily).


Vocabulary building: ex:  habitat, explore, feral hog, latch, curious, explore



Teach the five senses:  smelled the corn, heard the deer, saw the creek, tasted the corn, touched the mud  

Using popcorn is the best way to teach the five senses. One uses all five when popping corn. 

Puppet Show/ Flannel Board:  Bob is an easy story to create in puppet show or flannel board fun. There are only three characters. Add the creek, the trees, the sun, and the hog trap. Add sound effects behind the hog, the splashing sound of the water, the sound of swimming in the creek, the crunching sound of leaves as the deer walks out of the woods, the lapping sound of the deer drinking water, and the hog. When Bob goes inside the trap, and finds the corn, the intensity of the snap of the door closing gives a very loud pop. Suddenly, the slamming trap door catches Bob, as there are very loud squeaks and snorts coming from a toy hog hidden behind stage. Bob struggles inside the trap and desperately tries to free himself. But the hog trap caught Bob.

Art Ideas: Cole was familiar with a hog trap. He saw one on his hunt and drew it from memory. Cole created art in the colors of the woods and the characters. Can you draw and color something from memory? How did the artist make the water look as if it were moving? How did the artist make the trap door show movement? Do you think the deer, holding one front leg up, shows movement?

Book Review Sheet and Coloring Sheet are available for teachers and parents to share with the readers.

Good manners:  Bob thanked Freddy very much. Name other good manners.

Even though you are small, you can help others. 

This book appeals to a variety of age groups, from toddlers on. It is excellent for older siblings to read to younger ones. 

Bob encourages young authors and artists to create their own books. 

Teachers and parents, you will explore teaching ideas on your own. These are suggestions to get you started.

Sue Barker

Download Colorsheet