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Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

shifty_mcgiftyTracey Corderoy, Steven Lenton (illus)
Nosy Crow
Age 3-7

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are robbers. The trouble is they are not very good at it and keep coming away empty handed. Thinking it might be easier to rob their neighbours than the bank or the zoo, they invite them all to a tea party so they can rob the empty houses. Unfortunately they are spotted and so fail yet again. The two hapless robbers, realising the error of their ways, decide to turn away from their life of crime and find a new career as café owners as their cake making proves such a hit.

An amusing story with appealing characters and wonderfully detailed illustrations. The rhyming text makes it memorable and easy to join in with.


Share the story

Read aloud
Look at the cover, title page and first double spread of the story and read the text to your child. Talk about what we have found out so far about the characters and the story. Why might the robber dogs be feeling gloomy?

Read the next couple of pages to the Zoo. Talk about what children would like to happen next. Should Shifty and Sam carry on robbing?

Read the rest of the story aloud allowing time to talk about the pictures. Can you spot the spider on every page?

Join in
As you read the story again children can join in by completing the rhymes or taking the part of Shifty, Sam or the neighbours.

Talk about the story
Which page do you each like best? Share favourites and talk about what is happening in the story and pictures.

Talk about how the characters changed in the story and what made a difference to them.

The paperback includes a QR code for smart phones to access the story read aloud.


Shifty McGifty - playing with Noah and Phoebe

Noah loves Shifty McGifty, it is a real favourite. He likes going back again and again to this story and its sequel Shifty McGifty, Slippery Sam: The Cat Burglar. He is enjoying collecting the books in the series.

Noah asked why Shifty and Sam had pink cheeks at the end of the story and we talked about being embarrassed and how they felt when they realized their neighbours were upset. Noah really likes looking back at particular pages with dramatic scenes– for example Shifty and Sam’s attempted Zoo robbery and when Kitty is hanging from the roof in book two.

 He enjoys acting out the stories and choosing who will be each character. He asked his kitten (called Ruby!) if she was Ruby or Kitty LeClaw!

He enjoyed pretending to be Shifty, dressing as a baker, making cakes and decorating them – and eating them of course!

His younger sister Phoebe loves the book too. She enjoyed making cakes and biscuits with playdough. She created her own cake shop, and enjoyed being the shop keeper selling us cakes.

Things to make and do

Tell the story
Children could tell you the story using the pictures to guide them

Play the story
Role play an imaginary conversations between Shifty or Sam and one of their neighbours

Try tiptoeing like Shifty and Sam
It might be fun to have a bag for ‘swag’ a torch and perhaps a mask as well.

Write a letter
Write a sorry letter from Shifty or Sam to the Scottie Dog about trying to steal Big Eared Bob

Make a poster
A wanted poster for Slippery Sam and Shifty McGifty or a poster advertising their new café

Play a game
Print off the rhyming pairs sheet and play a match the pairs or snap game with the cards

Bake a cake
See here for Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’s special gingerbread recipe. And  see here  for more recipes

Find out more

Read another book about Shifty and Sam

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam – The Cat Burglar

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam – The Diamond Chase

Shifty McGifty and Sippery Sam – The Missing Masterpiece

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam – Santa’s Stolen Sleigh

Read more books by writer Tracey Corderoy here and illustrator Steven Lenton here

Buy online