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Thanks to Cindy in BC for writing the lessons for this Mrs. Mack unit study.

Patricia is thrilled when her father decides that she’s finally old enough to learn to ride. But her dreams of having a beautiful horse of her own are dashed when he takes her to a stable in Dogpatch, the rundown section of town. Patricia is sure that she’ll never learn anything in a place like that. But it’s in Dogpatch that Patricia meets two individuals–kind, patient Mrs. Mack and a glorious chestnut mare named Penny–who help her overcome her fears, and change her life forever.

from Mrs. Mack at

This Mrs. Mack unit study is packed FULL of lessons on horses, geography, autobiography, italics, similes, painting horses, measurement, and more.

Mrs. Mack Unit Study Lessons

This unit study includes lessons and printables based on the book Mrs. Mack by Patricia Polacco.

Here are some sample lessons from the Mrs. Mack Unit Study.

Social Studies: History, Appaloosa
In the second paragraph on page 11, Patricia tell us that Apache is Mrs. Mack’s horse and she is a strawberry Appaloosa. Ask your child if he/she knows how the Appaloosa got its name. Early settlers referred to this spotted horse as “a Palouse horse” as a reference to the Palouse River which runs through Northern Idaho. Over time the name became “Appaloosa.”

Find the Palouse River on a map of Idaho and show it to your child.

The Appaloosa was introduced to North America in the early 1700’s by Spanish explorers and quickly spread across North America. The Nez Perce Indians bred them in large numbers and to be fast, sturdy and sure-footed. This careful breeding aided the Indians in buffalo hunting and in war. The three-color spotting pattern helped to camouflage the horse and to break up the horse’s outline among the trees, making it difficult to see from a distance. When settlers began flooding into the Nez Perce reservation, conflicts soon arose and the Nez Perce war of 1877 broke out. The Appaloosa helped the Nez Perce Indians elude the US Calvary for many months before being captured. Many of the Appaloosa were killed in this battle and the breed was nearly forgotten about until recently. The Appaloosa is now one America’s most prized breeds and was adopted as Idaho’s official state horse in 1975.

The Appaloosa is the fifth most popular breed. An older child may wish to explore the other four popular breeds by researching and writing a paragraph on each: Quarter Horse, Paint, Thoroughbred, and Arabian.

Language Arts: Literary Device, Similes
Have your child copy the following passage from the story. Younger children can take the whole week to copy it – one line each day. Older children should copy the entire passage each day. For the younger child just mention how the sentences start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark [period]. With older children, discuss the use of similes in this example. Similes are used to compare two unlike things. The word danced is compared to the sun’s movement and a bright copper penny is compared to Penny’s coat color. Ask your child if he/she can tell you a sentence of his own that uses a simile.

“Her tail was short, but she held it as if it had been “set” up for a fancy horse show. She stood there almost motionless, As the sun danced through the leaves of the overhanging tree, her coat shone like a bright copper penny.” 

You can grab a copy of the entire Mrs. Mack Unit Study and Lapbook in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.

Mrs. Mack Lapbook Printables

In addition to the unit study lessons, the file also includes a Mrs. Mack Lapbook with these mini-books:

  • Horse Breeds Tab Book
  • Similes Circle Book
  • From California to Michigan Map
  • The Great Lakes Map
  • Autobiography Pocket
  • Horse Care Layer Book
  • Hoof Anatomy Simple Fold
  • Label a Saddle Simple Fold
  • A Horse’s Body Language Flap Book
  • New Words from Mrs. Mack Mini-book
  • Shoeing a Horse Accordion and Pocket
  • Horse Gaits Side by Side Book

How to Get Started with Your Mrs. Mack Unit Study & Lapbook

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the Mrs. Mack Unit Study:

  1. Buy a copy of the book, Mrs. Mack, or borrow one from your local library.
  2. Print the Mrs. Mack unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the Mrs. Mack lapbook printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy a week of learning with Mrs. Mack.

Get Your Free Mrs. Mack Unit Study & Lapbook

Simply click on the image below to access your free Mrs. Mack Unit Study and Lapbook.

Mrs. Mack Unit Study & Lapbook

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