A Tale of Two Beasts
Hodder Children’s Books
There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth reads the sign at the start of this book, a book that has two parts and two narrators. A little girl is first to present her view point, telling how when walking in the deep dark woods, she comes upon a small creature ‘stuck up a tree, and whining sadly…’ A rescue is effected,
the creature becomes Fang and is duly wrapped up in her scarf, taken home to be cleaned, bathed, fed and rehoused. We hear how the little girl takes her new ‘pet’ for walks and to meet her school friends. Despite all the loving care she lavishes upon the little beast, he’s still far from happy. Fearing he is sickening, she opens a window and the beast makes his escape, temporarily at least. For at bedtime there he is again looking more cheerful
In part two ‘The Terrible Beast’ we hear the animal’s version of what happened beginning “I was hanging from my favourite tree, singing happily to the birds when …”. An ambush occurs and the creature is subjected to all manner of terrible things
before making his escape, only to return later to retrieve something he has left behind and …
I’ve loved everything Fiona Roberton has done so far but I love this one even more. There’s so much to engage both eyes and ears here. The story is cleverly constructed and both the main characters and the illustrations, enchanting. I particularly like the way we are given a variety of double spread and full-page scenes and small vignettes.
Little Tiger Press pbk
Mole has something of an obsession – labelling things, not just with their names but much more besides.
(Teachers, there are opportunities galore in this book.) One day while out with pencil and paper at the ready, he comes upon something strange and of course, our compulsive labeller just has to investigate. Before long the creature is plastered with descriptive labels, but despite them all, no name.
Then the enormous, lumpy-bumpy thing gives a huge yawn which Mole assumes means he’s about to be eaten and beats a hasty retreat. But all the huge creature does is roll over and is soon snoring once more. Mole decides warning labels must be affixed to the sleeper and is about to add DANGEROUS when the thing awakes and flashing its teeth, proceeds to consume each and every label. Needless to say, Mole is not happy and off he goes in a huff but the creature is hot on his heels and making adoring overtures,
in between consuming more labels that is. Finally Mole loses it completely, hurling insults at the ‘THING” and causing it to shed a monstrous tear. Mole is penitent: time for another label?
However, it’s the Thing that is first with a label of his own and before long, Mole has made amends …
Terrific fun. Mole is a delight and, there are two pages of stickers to use for labeling. The whole thing is an absolute gold mine for teachers of 4s to 7s.
What about encouraging children to create their own ‘’Thing’ in two or three dimensions and passing it on to a partner who can then write labels for it. Or, a whole class or group could work together on a large-scale model/labeling project. The possibilities are endless with this one.
Use your local bookshop
Don’t forget February 14th