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
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.
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?
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
Rebecca Cobb also illustrated The Paper Dolls written by Julia Donaldson