Review Blog

Mar 11 2016

Spot and stripe by Anna Shuttlewood

cover image

Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760401405
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Friendship, Difference. Spot and Stripe are the best of friends and do lots of things together: looking at the stars, picking flowers, lying on their backs at night looking at the moon, and making up stories out of the clouds they see. Stripe is a zebra and Spot is a leopard, giving a lovely opportunity for parents and teachers to talk about these animals and their differences, where they live and their lifestyles. But they do wonder what it would be like if each was same as the other. They spend the next day teaching each other how to live like they do. So Spot shows Stripe how to chase birds, and Stripe shows Spot how to eat the berries form the bushes, Spot shows Stripe how to swim, and then how to climb a tree to rest for the night.
Each watercolour illustration adds to the story as it shows a variation fo the story being told. Stripe climbing a tree ends in disaster, while Spot eating berries is not what he can do easily. Each picture underlines their differences to the reader. The two happily conclude that their efforts have resulted in them being the same, but when they stop for a drink and see their reflections in the river, they are shocked to see they are still the same as before. An idea is played out by both, but when they realise that they miss the stripes and spots, they conclude that they can still be friends while being different. The message will not be lost on the reader and will encourage class discussions of difference and acceptance of difference.
Fran Knight

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