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Five Minutes Peace

Jill Murphy
Walker Books
Age 3-5 years

Mrs Large wants a break from her three adorable but exhausting children. She prepares a breakfast tray to take up to the bathroom and tries to sneak away unnoticed for a long soak. Unfortunately, she is spotted and soon followed. No chance of five minutes peace as all three children are keen to get her attention and to join in the bathtime fun.

A picturebook classic, this is a warm and humorous story with insights into family life which will appeal to both adults and children.


Share the story

Read aloud
Before you begin reading the book look at the cover illustration and end papers, share what you can see and talk about what the story might be about. Read the story aloud to your child taking time to look closely at the detailed and amusing illustrations.

Tell the story
Once your child has listened to the book read aloud a few times they will be familiar with what happens and could tell you the story in their own words, using the illustrations to help them. You may find they use some phrases from the story too.

Talk about the story

  • Share favourite parts of the story or funniest pictures. You could start by saying ‘My favourite picture is this one because……Which is your favourite?’

  • Talk about why might Mrs Large want five minutes peace or how her children feel about that

  • Do you ever want five minutes peace? Talk together about where each of you might want to go, what you would take and what you would do.

Things to make and do

Play the story
Have imaginary conversations between Mrs Large and one of her children. This might be fun with your child as Mrs Large and you as one of the children trying to get her attention. You could use what happens in the story or make up new ideas. Alternatively you could do this together with soft toys representing Mrs Large and her family (teddies could be used instead of elephants!)

Prepare a tray like Mrs Large
Have another look at what Mrs Large puts on her tray. Prepare a lovely breakfast or tea tray for Mrs Large, for yourselves or someone else in your family.  Include something to drink, something to eat and something to read. This is best done at a mealtime so children can join in with the eating too and you can find a space to enjoy five minutes peace sharing the food and reading.

How long is five minutes?
How much can you do in five minutes? Have fun investigating together. You might want to focus on one minute first – for example what can you do in a minute eg can you put your socks on? Eat a piece of toast? Run a bath? Use a clock, egg timer or electronic timer.

Water Play
Water play is fun at bathtime and is an ideal outdoors activity in the summer too, or indoors with a large bowl of water and an old shower curtain covering the floor. Your child could collect favourite bath toys and others that don’t mind getting wet and add other household objects that are safe for your child to play with such as clothes pegs, plastic cups, metal spoons, wooden utensils, pebbles, metal jar tops, even an apple. Let your child play in the water with the toys and objects. Talk together about which might float or sink then experiment to find out. Your child can try pouring and filling containers too.

Find out more

Find out more about author illustrator Jill Murphy here

Jill Murphy talks about the background to this story here 

Enjoy more books about the Large family, titles include All in One Piece and A Piece of Cake

Share more books by Jill Murphy:

Titles include:
Peace at Last
Whatever Next
On the Way Home

Find out about healthy breakfast foods

Thinking about what Mrs Large and the children are having for breakfast might prompt discussions about breakfast choices and healthy eating. You could:

  • Look back at the book to see what the Large family are eating for breakfast

  • Ask your child what their favourite breakfast is.

  • Use the internet and information books to find out about healthy foods.

  • Make a list of healthy foods for child likes and which they would like for breakfast

  • Look out for healthy breakfast foods when you are shopping

  • Make muesli, or granola with your child and enjoy eating it together or with other family members or friends. Homemade toasted muesli | Healthy Kids