University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: "Tear-Water Tea" (in Owl at Home) by Arnold Lobel

Field of Philosophy: Metaphysics

Plot Summary: Owl decides to make tear-water tea, and to do so he has to think of things that make him cry so that he can have tears for the tea. Once he fills the kettle with tears, he puts it on the stove to boil. “Owl felt happy as he filled his cup. ‘It tastes a little bit salty,’ he said, ‘but tear-water tea is always good.’”

Some Discussion Questions:


WHAT IS SADNESS?
What can make you feel sad?
A song.
A word.
A sunset.
A picture.
An animal.
The moon.
Food.
A trip somewhere.
A story.


When can you cry?
When you're happy.
When you're angry.
When you love someone a lot.
When you lose a game.
When you break a toy.
When you spill a drink.
When you fight with your brother or sister.
When you are proud of someone.


When can you laugh?
When you see a movie.
When you read a book.
When it snows.
When you hear a funny story.
When you're happy.
When you're nervous.
When you see your friends.


What can laugh or cry?
Birds.
The sky.
The ocean.
Dogs.
Worms.
The wind.
The sun.
A baby.


Discussion:
What is the difference between happy and sad?
Can you be both happy and sad at once?
Can you be neither happy nor sad?
Can fish be happy or sad?
Can trees be happy or sad?
Can the sky be happy or sad?
Can you be happy or sad and not know it?
Is everyone happy or sad in the same way?
What makes you happy or sad?


CAN YOU MAKE YOURSELF. . .

start crying stop crying keep crying
laugh stop laughing talk
stop talking walk sit
eat not eat fly
dream not dream wake up
not wake up think not think