Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Story Sack: ‘The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his Business’ 30th Anniversary!

So a certain mole turns 30 this month, along with his farmyard friends - not forgetting Basil the dog – so here at SOTB we thought we do a Story Sack (or two) to celebrate.

In case you are not aware of this classic picture book from the genius minds of Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch, it’s about a mole, who sticks his head out of his hole, only to have something unmentionable land on it. The Mole then goes on a mission to find out who the business belongs to, asking all the farmyard animals, who prove their innocence by demonstration, covering the poor mole in further excrement. It is not until Mole meets some helpful flies, that he finds out the identity of the culprit and can exact revenge.

It may sound like silly book – which it is – but as funny as it is , it is also educational. I had a friend who was a naturalist professor at The Oxford University, who told me they use the book to teach students how to identify and track animals, using their poo.

So before we begin, here’s a reminder about what a story sack contains… 

Story Sack Checklist… 

  • A good quality fiction book. (picture book or novel).
  • A non-fiction book related to the story and themes in the chosen picture book.
  • Toys, (ideally soft toys for younger children).
  • A game or activity also related to the theme of the chosen fiction book.
  • Optional worksheet based on the story and themes off the story sack.

So, as I said we have not one but two ‘The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his Business’ story sacks, one for younger children and one for older readers.

Story Sack One – Younger Readers


We have paired ‘The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his Business’, with the beautiful picture book ‘Life-Sized Animal Poo’ by John Townsend, which is a beautifully
illustrated non-fiction book, that does exactly what it does on the tin, explains about animals poo, in actual size pictures. It is fun and not too wordy. 


For both story sacks, we have manged to source a 25th Anniversary edition Little Mole plush, and we have added various soft toys of a similar size, for each of his friends that he encounters. For the flies, we have found a small pack of plastic figures.


Because it’s fun, and educational and will be of interest to all young buddying naturalists, we have ‘Who Did This Poo? A Matching & Memory Game’, by Magma for Laurence king, featuring beautiful illustrations by Charlotte Coulais. We have also found a more physical game which ties into Little Mole’s story, ‘Poo Head’ where you try and catch poo’s on your head.


Usually I have to get up thinking cap on and get crafty for this element of the Story Sacks, but as it is the 30th Anniversary publishers Pavilion have produced downloadable activity sheets which you can find here.

Story Sack Two – For Older Readers

For this story sack for older children you will see we are using many of the same elements as the first storys sack with the exception of…

Non-Fiction Book

For the older children, we have paired ‘The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was none of his Business’ with ‘Animal Science Poo, A Natural History of the Unmentionable’ by Nicola Davis and illustrated by Neal Layton. 


This non-fiction picture book, is just a humorous and educational as Life-Sized Animal Poo’ but it has more fact and text, which is more appropriate for older readers.


For the older children we have swapped the memory game for ‘Plop Trumps, a poo-centric Top-Trumps card game, which has more factual content.

Anyway, this is Space on the Bookshelf signing off and wishing Little Mole, and all his friends a happy 30th Birthday!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Picture Book Review: Emma Lazell’s That Dog!

That Dog! Is the tale of one very clever dog, who outwits the town's cunning yet inept dog-nappers, rescuing all the stolen pets and bring the culprits to justice.

Emma’s vibrant and fun illustrations really bring the story to life, as you follow the story which is unusually told from the villain’s point of view as they pursue their latest target –the spotty dog, with long floppy ears and a even longer tail. 

That Dog, is mischievous and humorous read accompanied by exquisite illustrations.