Gloria’s Porridge

Gloria’s Porridge
Elizabeth Laird and Toby Newsome
Tiny Owl

Elizabeth Laird’s story is a reimagining of an Ethiopian folk tale that begins with the making of some porridge. Gloria tells her cat she’s so hungry that rather than sharing with him as requested, she intends gobbling the whole lot herself. First though she needs to fetch some water to make it less gloopy so off she goes bucket in hand to the stream.

As you might expect the cat can’t resist sampling what appears to be delicious porridge – just a lick from the spoon, he thinks. But in no time the pot is empty. Back comes Gloria with the water and rather than listen to the cat’s explanation,

she grabs the spoon and shakes it at the creature scaring it, whiskers awry out of the house. 

This action sets in motion a chaotic concatenation of events comprising shaking trees, angry bees, a frightened hen, scattered corn and a shouting, meowing, braying, buzzing, clucking, ear-splitting din.

A passing fox pauses to ask what on earth is happening and a protracted explanation ensues to which all involved add their bit. Having listened, the fox then asks a further question. 

The end result is peace and harmony are restored, and apologies are offered and accepted; after which comes the sharing of a new pot of porridge …

Accompanying Elizabeth’s spirited telling, Toby Newsome’s illustrations, inspired by his South African home environment are full of fun and animation. Together, the result is a highly entertaining and enjoyable read aloud story.