Sunday, June 16, 2024
The Suitcase

The Suitcase

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

When a strange-looking animal arrives pulling a big suitcase, the other animals are curious. What on earth could be inside that suitcase? A teacup? Maybe. A table and chair? Perhaps. A whole home and hillside with trees? This stranger must be fibbing! But when the animals break into the suitcase and discover a very special photograph, they begin to understand what the strange creature has been through, and together they create a very special welcome present…


  • Look at the front cover and discuss what the story might be about. Who are these creatures? What might they be saying to each other?
  • Read the blurb on the back of the book and imagine the answers to the animals’ questions (Why is he here? Where has he come from? And just what is in the suitcase?).
  • Write your own story about a special suitcase. What might be inside it? Who might own (or discover) it?
  • Write a prequel to explain where the ‘strange animal’ came from. Why did he have a suitcase with him?
  • Think of some speech / thought bubbles to accompany the illustrations.
  • The text in the book is all written in direct speech. Can you rewrite it using reported speech?
  • Look at each illustration and think of words / phrases to describe how each animal might be feeling. Can you think of synonyms for those words?
  • At one point in the story, the animals discuss whether to look in the suitcase. Think of some pros and cons for this action.
  • Write a sequel to this book. What adventures might these animals have together next?
  • Record a ‘read-aloud’ video for this book. Here is one example:


  • The fox says that it is ‘impossible’ that there is a table and a chair in the suitcase. Can you think of other words linked to probability? Can you put them on a probability scale?


  • Make a list of similarities and differences between the animals in this story.
  • Can you create your own ‘strange animal’? How might it be adapted to live in a particular habitat?


  • Record a narrated version of the story. Can you add your own music and sound effects?
  • Could you make a trailer for this book (or another of your favourite stories)? Here is one example:

Design Technology:

  • Try to build a strong suitcase. What could you put inside it?
  • Design a new home for the strange animal to live in. Make a floor plan to show the rooms inside this new house.


  • Design a new tea cup for the strange animal to use when his one gets broken.
  • Follow along with this video to draw some of the characters from the book:


  • If you were going on holiday with a suitcase, where would you go? How would you travel there? Can you find this place on a map and plan the journey? What would need need to take in a suitcase?


  • At one point in the story, the fox says he doesn’t trust the strange animal. What does it mean to ‘trust’?
  • At the end of the book, the animals show real kindness to the stranger. Think of times when you have been kind to others. Make a list of acts of kindness that you can take each day.

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