That’s What Friends Are For (Hardcover) by Valeri Gorbachev. Philomel, 2005. ISBN: 978-0399239663. pp: 32. Ages: 4-7, gr: k-1

[Photo of the author Valeri Gorbachev]


Goat and Pig are dear friends and have planned a dinner together. Goat notices through the window that Pig is crying. Goat thinks of several scenarios that may have produced Pig’s sadness. These thoughts lead to ideas for how he can make Pig feel better and he ends up bringing several items to Pig’s house. When he walks in, he finds Pig is not crying from sadness but from the onions he is preparing for dinner.


  1. Teacher Read Aloud - Read the story to the children stopping before the conclusion to brainstorm why they think Pig might be crying.

  2. Examine the picture of Pig and Goat making stew. What do you think Pig plans to put in his stew?

  3. List several words or characteristics that describe a good friend.

  4. Create an acrostic poem using the word "FRIEND". An acrostic poem is a simple poem in which each letter of the word, written vertically, becomes the first letter of a line in the poem.

  5. What part of the plant is the onion that we eat? Read The Parts of a Plant We Eat to find out.

  6. Find pictures of onions in seed catalogs. Count how many different kinds of onions you can find. Note: alternate online source

  7. Dissect an onion to discover its parts.
    For older students: Learn some history about the onion and its origin. Find the places on a globe.

  8. Print out the Goat’s Recital page. Solve the hidden picture puzzle.

  9. Sing one of these friendship songs.:
  10. Think of a time when you had a friend who needed your help and what you did to help this friend. Class activity - Role play various situations.

  11. Write a letter to someone who is your very dear friend. Thank your friend for the times when he or she was there when you needed someone. (You may or may not give the letter to the person)

  12. Create a Friendship Bracelet.

  13. Write your own short story about friendship.

  14. The story featured two types of pies: apple pie and cabbage pie. Make a list of as many different kinds of pies as you can think of. Copy the list in alphabetical order.

  15. There are many books about friends. Write a book review for one that you have read. Samples: Spaghetti Book Club; Building Rainbows

  16. How many years has Valeri Gorbachev been in the United States?

  17. Find a book by Paul Galdone. Compare the pictures of Paul Galdone with the watercolor pictures of Valeri Gorbachev in this book.

  18. Valeri Gorbachev has written several children’s books as well as illustrating books written by other authors. Read another of his books about Pig and Goat.
    • Where Is the Apple Pie? Philomel, 1999
    • One Rainy Day Philomel, 2002
    • The Big Trip. Philomel, 2004

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That’s What Friends Are For. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #84848 EN; Book Level 2.3; Points= 0.5

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