A Squash and a Squeeze

Age Range: 5 - 11

''Wise old man, won't you help me, please? My house is a squash and squeeze.''

What can you do if your house is too small? The wise old man knows: bring in a flappy, scratchy, noisy crowd of farmyard animals. When you push them all out again, you'll be amazed at how big your house feels!

Book Author: Julia Donaldson

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Create an estate agent’s advert for the old lady’s house, using persuasive language to encourage people to buy it.
  • Rewrite the story in the form of a diary entry from the old lady’s perspective.
  • Make a list of words that the author uses instead of ‘small’ (e.g. poky, tiny, titchy, teeny). Can you think of antonyms?
  • Make a list of rhyming words used in the story.
  • Make a newspaper report about the old lady who invited her animals to live in her house.
  • Make a new page for the book in which the old lady invites another animal into her house.
  • Watch this video which features the author and illustrator. What questions would you ask them if you have the chance to talk to them?
  • At one point in the story, the old lady is ‘tearing her hair out’. Can you think of any other idioms?
  • Watch this retelling of the story:


  • How many animals lived in the house at different points in the story? How many eyes did they all have? How many legs? How many tails? 


  • Use publishing software to make a poster to advertise the book to other children.
  • Make an animation showing part of the story (e.g. when the cow taps out a jig on the table.

Design Technology

  • Design a larger house for the old lady (and the animals) to live in.


  • Draw a picture of the old lady and the animals all squashed in the same house.


  • Can you learn this song and perform it to an audience?


  • Draw a plan view of the old lady’s house, labelling the different parts mentioned in the story. 


  • Does this story have a moral / message? Can you think of other stories that try to teach us something?


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