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The Something

the_somethingRebecca Cobb
Age 3-7

A small boy loses a ball in a hole in the garden. Maybe something lives there, what could it be? A mouse, a badger, a mole, frogs or rabbits, perhaps even something really scary like a troll or a dragon? Everyone he speaks to has a different idea. Perhaps if he watches and waits he will find out…..


This is a beautiful picturebook with a story to stir the imagination and invite speculation about what might be in the hole. With clever illustration of what’s above and (possibly!) below ground there is wonderful detail in the inventive undergound settings. Notice the cherry tree change as seasons come and go, spot the ball in the underground settings.



Share the story

Read aloud
Before reading the story look at the cover, endpapers and title page and wonder together what the story might be about. Read the first two double pages then pause for a moment to talk about what might be in the hole. Continue reading, allowing time to pause and talk about the story or pictures when your child wants to.

Join in
When you share the story again children could join in by adding imaginary conversations with parents, friends, grandparents, I think it’s a…..

Talk about the story
What do children think might be in the hole, share ideas. Could it be something scary? What would they like it to be?
Talk about parts of the story children like and anything they wonder about.
Look closely at the illustrations and talk about what’s happening in the underground settings.
Notice how the cherry tree changes, can you work out together how long this story takes to happen?

We asked Rebecca Cobb about her inspiration for The Something
‘When I was little I found a hole in the ground outside. It looked like the sort of hole that an animal had made so I was sure that it had something living in it. I waited and waited for a long time to see if anything would come out. After a while I got hungry and went to get some mini cheddars. I had decided by now that there was most likely a mouse in the hole and a mouse would probably like mini cheddars - so I posted one down there for it to eat. Almost at once the mini cheddar was pushed back out of the hole by a frog! I have never forgotten my shock and surprise and it taught me that you never know what might be living underground. Even today I am still filled with curiosity whenever I see a hole like that in the earth that might have something down it. ‘

Claire tells us about sharing The Something with her daughter:
The Something is a lovely book that I have enjoyed reading to my 4 year old daughter. The illustrations are beautiful and really capture my daughter's attention. The story is simple yet it inspires imaginative conversations with children. Every time we read it my daughter chooses a different option for who or what lives in the hole.

We went to the beach recently and of course, we dug a hole (as well as building lots of sand castles too). I pointed out to my daughter that it was like the hole in the book and asked her who might live down the hole. Instead of choosing one of the options from the book she suggested a crab which is obviously a more appropriate choice for the beach.

Once back at home, we have drawn pictures of a hole and I asked her to draw who lives there. I made a hole in a shoe box and suggested she used her toys to fill it with who ever lived there. She loved this idea and chose to make a house for a badger. As we don't have a toy badger, she said her prince was a badger. I love how much she loves small world play and how she used her imagination. She filled the shoe box with furniture from her dolls house and happily played for ages with her badger, feeding him soup and making him go to bed.

We've read the book many times now and she remembers all the suggestions and either agrees or tells me no to each suggestion the book offers to what might be in the hole.

Things to make and do

  • Make a phone call – using a toy phone or plastic pots joined with string have imaginary conversations about the hole. Children could pretend to phone friends or grandparents and talk about the hole and what might be in it.

  • Make a book with flaps to show different things which could be in the hole.

  • Make an under the ground scene. Use a small cardboard box such as a shoe box. Turn it on its side. Make an imaginary underground scene using collage or paint to make a background, then add small toys, or playdough models for the creature who lives there. Decorate the top edge of the box to look like grass and make a hole to look through.

  • Dig a real hole. If you have a garden, or relations who have one, children could dig a hole in a flower bed (with permission!) be prepared for lots of worms emerging! This could be fun in a sandpit or at the seaside too.


Find out more

Read another book by author illustrator Rebecca Cobb here


Aunt Amelia

Missing Mummy

Rebecca Cobb also illustrated The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson


Buy The Something here