The Journey of the Noble Gnarble

The Best-Selling ebook and First story in the Journey series

*Teacher’s Activities and Lesson Plans*

Click here to download the Teacher’s Guide including handouts as pdfs or follow the guide below


The Journey of the Noble Gnarble Teacher’s Guide


Inside the Guide:

About the Book

About the Guide

For Pre-K and Kindergarten

For Grades 1-3 and Up

Classroom Activities

—-Developing Imagination and Storytelling

—-Building Confidence

—-Dealing with Frustrations

—-Exploring New Places


About the Book

The ocean floor is filled with mysterious and rare creatures, but none are as rare as gnarbles.
Their fins are small, their tails are floppy, and they have never strayed far from their homes…until now.
This is the story of a gnarble with a dream who tries to make it past doubting blyfish, sneaky subbalubbles, and hungry plinks on his way to the surface of the sea. Children of all ages can follow this heartfelt and unforgettable journey through an underwater world like they have never seen before!

About the Guide

It would be easy to think of The Journey of the Noble Gnarble as simply a picture book intended for very young children; however, that is not the case at all.  Like most of Daniel Errico’s stories, this book emphasizes themes of perseverance and resilience, and it also highlights a fundamental curiosity about the world.  This guide is designed to be a resource for teachers as they help students learn about the magical places they can journey to through reading.  Along the way, students will learn not only what creatures the gnarble meets on his journey to the surface of the ocean, but it is hoped that they will also learn how to develop fundamental life skills to help them realize their own dreams.  The guide provides activities related to The Journey of the Noble Gnarble which teachers can use to shape students in the following areas: stimulating imagination, building confidence, dealing with frustrations, exploring new places, and developing storytelling skills.

For Pre-K and Kindergarten

Before reading the book:

1. Hold up the book and read the title. Ask the students: 
What does noble mean? [Provide simple definition for younger students.]

Who do you know that is noble?

What kind of animal do you think the main character is?

What do you know about fish?

  -Where do they live?  

-How do they move?  

-What do small fish eat?

-What likes to eat small fish?  

2.  Point to other characters on the cover and ask the students:  

Do they look like nice animals?

What kind of ocean animals do they remind you of?

3.  Point to the animals on the back cover and ask the students:

Do they look like nice animals?

What do you think they might do to the gnarble?

Do you think they will be a friend or an enemy of the gnarble?

While reading the book:

1. To keep students engaged during the reading, try asking questions about the story.

General questions:

Where does the gnarble want to go?

Who captures the gnarble?

How does the gnarble escape?

Specific questions based on lines from the story:

“All night long his gnarble dreams kept swimming in his head”

What do you think he could be dreaming about?

“So when he woke, he knew that he just couldn’t, wouldn’t fail.”

Do you think he can do it? Why or why not?

“You don’t even have koggers like the swimming gungaloo.”

How do you think he felt when they said that to him? Do you think he’ll keep going?

“He grabbed him by his tail and pulled him right up to his chin.”

What do you think the warckel wants to do with him? Do you think the Gnarble is scared?

“But you’re much too thin and bony for a fish like me to eat.”

How do you think he felt after the warckel let him go?

“Until he heard the sound of a great big bubble POP!”

What could that popping noise be?

“ But the subbalubble saw him and was headed right his way.”
How do you think the Gnarble feels?

“Oh Mister Subbalubble, please don’t eat me up for lunch.”

What do you think the subbalubble will do?

“And the gnarble grabbed a glimmy fin and quickly left that place.”

How do you think the gnarble felt after he got away?

“He knew it had to be the sun and, Oh, was it a sight!”
How do you think he feels when he sees the sun? Do you think he’ll make it to the t
op right now?

“He didn’t see the plink wake up, for he was busy grinning.”

Do you think the plink will catch him?

“He’d never make it out, so was there any point in trying?”
Do you think he should just give up? How would you feel if you were the gnarble and

trapped inside a plink?

“And while he did, his floppy tail was tickling the plink.”

What might happen when his tail tickles the plink?

“He swam so fast, the hungry plink did not have time to see.”
How does the gnarble feel now? Do you think he’ll make it to the top now?

“A gnarble flipped above the waves and smiled at the sun!”

How does he feel now? Why is he smiling? Was it an easy journey for him?
What were some obstacles in his way? Go through each one and have the children explain 
how the gnarble got out of it. Invite students to act out the actions as they describe how the gnarble did them (such as swimming, sleeping, and tickling).


For Grades 1-3 and Up

Before reading the book:

1.  Show the students only the front and back covers of the book and then ask them to predict what might happen in the book based solely on the pictures they viewed.
2.   Write down their predictions.  

After finishing the book:

1.  Review the predictions with the class and see how many were right.
Ask the students to select which of the following definitions (provided by Macmillan Press @ ) apply to the gnarble:

Noble (adjective)
behaving in an honest and brave way that other people admire
a noble action is one that you do to help other people, rather than for yourself
belonging to the highest social class
large and impressive

3.  Based on the age group of your students, select from the following list of vocabulary words and
    concepts for class discussion, or create your own list.
-predator vs. prey
-intimidation and bullying
-perseverance and resilience
-vocation (calling or career) vs. avocation (hobby or interest)

4.  To give students ideas on how to make their storytelling and writing more interesting, discuss
     the following literary devices/terms: poetry, rhyming vs. free verse, and fiction vs. non-fiction.
5.  You can also introduce older students to:

alliteration (repeating of initial sounds in neighboring words),

assonance (repeating of vowel sounds but not consonant sounds), and

simile (comparing two unlike things using “as” or like) and other types of metaphor.

[See or similar websites for a complete list of literary terms and definitions.]

6.  Have the students find examples of assonance and alliteration in The Journey of the Noble Gnarble.

7.  In addition, please note that many of the Classroom Activities listed at the end of this guide
    can be modified for older students.  


Classroom Activities:

Objective:  Teach students the importance of using their imagination.

1.  Whiteboard or large paper to draw the gnarble
2.  Markers or crayons,
3.  “Meet My Noble Fish” sheets.  Print one for each student. [See Appendix: Meet My Noble Fish sheet]

1.  Ask students to close their eyes and use their imagination to dream up their own noble fish.
2.  Let each child share one thing their fish would have.
3.  Ask the children to think of a name for their fish.
4.  Give each child a paper that says “Meet my noble fish,_____________________”
5.  Have them draw their fish.
6.  Have older students label the different parts of their fish that make it different from other fish.
    (e.g. 3 tails, 2 horns, etc.).
7.  Have the students explain what their fish dreams of doing.

Objective: Help students to develop self-confidence.

1.  Paper to print out a “When I was small” sheet for each student.
[See Appendix: “When I was small, I couldn’t _____________, but now that I am bigger, I can!”sheets]
2. Markers or crayons
1.  Ask the students to answer these questions:
     How do you learn something new?  

How do you feel when you learn something new?

2.  Remind the students that throughout the story, the gnarble was told he was too small. Ask them:

Can you think of something you couldn’t do when you were small?  (Ex: ride a tricycle or bike, hop on one foot, or go to school)

How old were you when you could finally do that thing?

3.  Write in the students responses on the blank line of the “When I was small” sheets.
4.  Have the students draw a picture of the activity that they were later able to do.
5.  When all students are done, have them share their pictures together in a large group.  Each time a
    student shares his/her picture have the other children raise their hands if they’re big enough to do
    that activity, too.

Objective: Improve student’s ability to resolve internal conflict

1.  Paper plates (2 per child) and/or plain paper for older children
2.  Popsicle sticks
3.  Markers
4.  Stapler

1.  Remind your class that in The Journey of the Noble Gnarble, the gnarble was upset many times as
    he tried to swim past some dangerous creatures on his way to the top of the sea.  Ask the students:

What makes you upset or grumpy?

What do you do when you are upset?

What do you do when you are grumpy or upset to make yourself happy?

2.  Have the students draw a picture showing what they look like when they are upset.
3.  Ask them how they became less grumpy.
4.  Have the students make a two-sided paper plate mask with one side grumpy and the
    other side happy.
5.  Bring the students back to a large group.  Talk about different scenarios and have the students hold
    up the side of the mask that shows how they would feel.  
 (Ex:  “How would you feel if you broke a toy?” or “How would you feel if a friend smiled at you?”)

Objective: Build students’ curiosity about the world around them


1.  Paper to print out “Where will he go?” sheets for each student
[See Appendix:  “Where will he go?” sheet]
2.  Markers or crayons,

1.  Ask students, the following questions:

Where are some places you have gone?

What did you do while you were there?

What are some places you have heard about that you would like to go to?

If you were the gnarble and lived in the ocean, where would you want to go to next?

2.  Have the students use the “Where will he go?” sheets to draw a picture that shows where the
     gnarble is going to next.
3.  Bring the students back to a large group and have them share their pictures.
4.  Older children can suggest new adventures for the Noble Gnarble and write their own stories
    on the “Where will he go?” sheets instead of drawing pictures.




Age appropriate content for this guide has been provided by preschool teacher Rosie Miskowicz and early education consultant Corinne Errico.