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The Thunk


Michelle Robinson, illus. Deborah Allwright
Age 3-7 years

Hector Voltaire is a determined young man. He has a theory that ‘The Thunk’, a legendary creature or possibly an extinct animal is in fact not only real but still exists.  Despite ridicule, he decides to prove that he is right. He packs for his journey and sets off. Despite very poor map reading skills he finds a thunk, complete with trunk, pink and blue fur and a horrible odour. In fact, he doesn’t find just one but 63, 402!

This is an amusing story with a memorable rhyme and delightful illustrations offering lots of scope for imaginative story play.


Share the story

Read aloud
Before you start reading the book with your child, talk about the cover image and title page together. What is happening in the images and what might happen in this story? Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about what is happening if your child wants to.

Join in
The rhyming text makes this a great book for joining in with. Once your child is familiar with the story you could leave gaps so your child can complete the rhymes, or take turns to read a line each.

Talk about the story
▪︎Talk about what you would each pack to take on an adventure like this.
▪︎Share favourite illustrations and talk about them together.
▪︎Talk about puzzles for example, unfamiliar words eg extinct, legend, mouldy, thrive, fragrance, ultimate.
▪︎Why does Hector change his mind about wanting to prove thunks exist? This may lead to broader discussions about whether or not animals should be kept in zoos.
▪︎Why does Hector decide to stay with the thunks?

Things to make and do

Play the story

Pack a bag as if you are Hector Voltaire ready to set off in search of thunks. What will you take? Perhaps a torch or binoculars and some snacks to keep you going.

You could extend the activity by encouraging your child to make a map first to help find your way. For even more fun a toy representing the thunk could be hidden somewhere for your child to find.

Make a Thunk
Use a cardboard tube, blue and pink wool or cotton wool painted blue and pink to make a thunk. You could add a trunk made from a strip of felt or card.

Design your own magical creature
Give your child paper and pens, pencils, crayons or paints to design their own magical creature – talk about this together first, what colour will it be? Will it have fur, scales, wings or horns? How many eyes ears will it have? What will it eat?…

Make a zig zag book of magical creatures

Have a look at the links in the find out more section below. Your child could make their own mini book of magical creatures including perhaps dragons, trolls and unicorns.

Find out more

Read another story by author Michelle Robinson. Titles include:
Goodnight Spaceman
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth
Ten Fat Sausages
There’s a Lion in my Cornflakes.

Find out about more books illustrated by Deborah Allwright

Find out about other magical animals

Find out about extinct animals