Book Unit: Painter and Ugly – Junior Iditarod and a Study of Friendship Among Competitors

Grades 1-4 – Others with modifications




For many, the real kickoff to Iditarod Race time is the Junior Iditarod. Introducing the Junior Iditarod to students is a great way to jump start their enthusiasm, as it is sometimes easier for them to relate to the junior mushers who are closer to their own age.  


Information about the Junior Iditarod can be found here.


One great way to introduce your students to the concept of the Junior Iditarod is with the picture book Painter and Ugly by Robert J. Blake. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of two sled dogs who are the best of friends but get separated. The idea of friendship among competitors is fully evident and is a wonderful tie in to the thought behind the Sportsmanship Award in both the the Iditarod and the Junior Iditarod races.


This lesson plan takes that idea a step further and encourages kids to notice instances of friendship and sportsmanship that surround them daily. 


Painter & Ugly Lesson Plan – Click Here!