Sunday, July 21, 2024
What If?

What If…?

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Anthony Browne

As Joe and his mum walk down the darkening street, his imagination starts to run wild. And as they search for the right place and wonder “What if…?” they make surprising discoveries along the way…

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • How many ‘What If…?’ questions can you think of? Choose a friend’s ‘What If…?’ question and write a story based on it (e.g. What if dogs could talk? What if each day was only ten hours long?).
  • Make a new copy of the party invitation for Joe.
  • Retell the story in the form of a play script. Could you perform it to an audience?
  • Rewrite the text in the speech bubbles using reported speech (and the correct punctuation).
  • Choose a picture that shows the inside of one of the houses. Think of as many adjectives and descriptive phrases as you can to describe it.
  • Think of some speech / thought bubbles and captions for the scenes inside each house.
  • Choose one of the people shown in each window scene. Can you write a story / diary entry about them?
  • Write a diary entry about Joe’s day, from his point of view.
  • Write a newspaper entry about the missing elephant. How did it end up inside the house?
  • Watch this video in which the author talks about the book. What questions would you like to ask about the author / book?


  • Plan the party for Joe’s birthday. How many people will he invite? What food / drink could he have? How much might it cost?


  • Many of the pictures of Joe and his mum are coloured using different shades of a single colour. Use image editing software to change the colours on a photo of yourself, in a similar style.
  • Use a spreadsheet to plan the items needed for Joe’s birthday party. Can you set up a budget and make sure that you don’t spend too much money?
  • Record and edit your own retelling of the story. Watch this video which shows the author telling the story:


  • The pictures on the inside covers include silhouettes. Can you create your own silhouette pictures?
  • Many of the pictures of Joe and his mum are coloured using different shades of a single colour. Can you create a picture of yourself using a similar technique?
  • Create a comic strip about a journey that you have had.
  • Imagine that you could walk down an unusual street and look through people’s windows. Draw pictures of what you might see.
  • Draw a picture from the point of view of one of the characters inside the house. What can they see looking out?


  • Imagine / compose the music that might be heard inside each house that Joe and his mum pass.


  • Create a map that shows Joe’s walk down the street. Who / what lives in each house?


  • Joe has lots of questions because he is nervous about the party. Why do we sometimes ask lots of questions when are nervous?
  • How can we reassure somebody who is nervous?
  • How can we welcome somebody who hasn’t been to our house / school / party before?

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