Review Blog

Sep 06 2011

How the whale became and other stories by Ted Hughes

cover image

Faber and Faber, 2011 (1963). ISBN 978 0512744208.
(Ages 6+) Recommended. Storytelling. I was constantly reminded of my favourite childhood book, the Just so stories, by Rudyard Kipling, while reading this small volume of Ted Hughes' wonderful animal legends. First published in 1963, the eleven stories of how things came to be will evoke humour and a lasting interest in the idea of storytelling. Hughes, Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998, was one of England's favourite poets and children's authors. And this book, How the whale became, exposes his considerable talent to a new audience.
The stories show the animals at the beginning of time, wondering what they will become in the world. Many try different things, until they hit upon the animal they should be. Readers will roar with laughter at the donkey trying to be a lion, an eagle, a bull and a cockatoo, all giving them five minutes each, before hitting on being a donkey.
The whale grows up in God's vegetable patch but in growing so large, squashed God's carrots and so was banished to the sea. The polar bear is lured out of the polar regions because it always wins the beauty contests and the other animals are jealous. And so on. Each creation story revolves a big issue, jealousy, independence, conformity, and each is fun to read aloud or in a group. Bordering on fables, the stories could well be used in a unit in the classroom on storytelling, or fables, or creation stories, or to introduce a study of animals, or just to have fun.
Fran Knight

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates