What the Ladybird Heard
Age Range: 5 to 11
"Oink!" said the cats . . . With all the MOOing and HISSing and BAAAing and CLUCKing, the farmyard is full of noise. But when Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len hatch a plot to steal the fine prize cow, it's the quietest animal of all who saves the day!
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Identify the rhyming words used throughout the book. Can you make your own rhyming dictionary, adding other rhyming words for the ones found?
- Look at the adjectives that are used to describe each animal. How many other adjectives can you think of to describe them? Use the animal posters (see Resources below) and write adjectives on them.
- Think about the different sounds that animals make. How do we write these (e.g. miaow, purr)? Can you think of any other examples of onomatopoeia? Are there any other examples in the story?
- Think of some speech bubbles to show what the ladybird might be thinking at each point in the story.
- Look at the vocabulary used to describe how the thieves are planning to steal the cow. What other direction words can you think of?
- The ladybird whispered into each animal's ear. Think of other words that describe how we can communicate with others (e.g. shouted, screamed, hissed, chattered).
- Write a character profile about Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len… what kind of people are they? Where do they live?
- The thieves 'crept' into the farm. Think of synonyms which describe how people can move. Can you demonstrate each one (e.g. sprint, crawled, paced).
- Create a 'Wanted Poster' to tell people about the criminals and their crimes.
- Look at the pictures of the farm at the start and end of the book. Can you describe how they are different?
- Watch this reading of the book by the author. Can you join in with the actions and sounds?
- Can you sort the animals in the story using Venn or Carroll diagrams? Which ones have two legs? Which have four legs? Which ones have a beak or a nose? How many other ways could you sort them?
- Draw a map of the farm on the co-ordinate grid (see Resources below) and use the co-ordinates / compass directions to show somebody how to move from one place to another.
- How many different animals appear in the story? How are they similar / different?
- Can you make a branching database to help others identify each animal?
- Use a paint program to design a new rosette for the prize cow.
- Create a simple model of the farm and use some programmable robots (e.g. roamer, remote control vehicles) to move around it. Could you decorate the roamer so that it looks like the ladybird?
- Design a security system to keep the fine prize cow safe from the two men in the big black van.
- Look at the illustrations of the farm in the book. Look at the different textures used on the tree / grass / buildings. Can you try to recreate these textures using different art materials?
- Can you create pictures of different animals using textured materials?
- Gather lots of leaves and try to arrange them to make a picture. Look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy to find more examples of how nature can be used to make art. Use these as inspiration to make your own.
- Design a new outfit for the scarecrow in the farmer's field.
- Can you make up a song which includes lots of examples of animal sounds? Get some ideas by watching this performance of a song by the author and her husband:
- Try to find where different farms are in your local area. What crops do they grow? What animals do they look after?
- Draw a map of a farm and label the different buildings and features.
- Think about what stealing means and why it is wrong. How would you feel if someone stole from you? What happens to people who steal things from others?