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The Grotlyn

The Grotlyn
Benji Davies
Age 5-7

Since hearing an organ tune Rubi has a strange rhyme in her head about a Grotlyn visiting houses at night. Soon she and others in the town report hearing strange noises, sightings, objects disappearing. Rumours about a Grotlyn are spreading. But in the words of the story ‘..don’t be afraid to sleep – to dream! For things are not quite what they seem.’ A mysterious rhyming picture book to cuddle up and share, with just the right amount of spookiness, wonderfully rich illustrations and a surprise ending.


Share the story

Before starting to read the story:

Spend time talking together about the double page spread at the beginning of the book. What can you see in the picture?

Think together about the title and the possible meaning of introductory line ‘I know when the Grotlyn’s been slipping through your house unseen’

Read aloud
Read the story aloud, making sure you are cuddled up close!  Pause to talk about the pictures and what is happening. When you finish reading, look back at the illustrations for clues about what the Grotlyn really is.  It might be fun to read the story in a whisper or read it in the dark using a torch to shine on the pages.

Talk about the story

Talk about the line ‘But what at first we think to be the eye does blindly make us see’

Look at the page of things the Grotlyn stole, were these random or stolen for a reason?

Talk about the final pictures – how are the organ grinder and the monkey feeling?

Watch a trailer

Harper Collins Children’s Books

Things to make and do


Play the story
Together you could pretend to be some of the people who saw the Grotlyn talking about what they saw or heard using words from the story or making up some of your own.

Children could pretend to be a Grotlyn ( or monkey!) creeping through a house and stealing things for their escape plan.

Create a dark den, for example with a blanket covering a table children can create a camp inside and play with a torch.

Draw an escape plan
Children could imagine they are the monkey and plot their escape, what will they need? What will they build? Draw a diagram like the monkey’s picture and add notes to it.

Be a news reporter
Take turns role playing interviews between a reporter and people in the town about what they saw or heard.

Write a news report
Write a news report about the mysterious Grotlyn.

Write a postcard
Write a postcard from the monkey to the organ grinder explaining why he wanted to escape.

Find out more

Read more books by Benji Davies

Titles include

The Storm Whale

The Storm Whale in Winter

Grandad’s Island

On Sudden Hill with Linda Sarah

Goodnight Already with Jory John

Find out about organ grinders and their monkeys, watch a video: