The Ugly Five

Age Range: 5 - 11

Who's that singing on the savannah? It's the top-five ugly animals in Africa! The wildebeest, warthog, vulture, hyena and marabou stork swagger proudly across the savannah, rejoicing in their ugliness - and delighting their babies, who think they're perfect just the way they are.


Book Author: Julia Donaldson

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English

  • Find all of the rhyming words in the book. Can you make your own rhyming dictionary using some of the words?
  • Choose a selection of words in the story (e.g. glorious, cool, divine) and think of synonyms.
  • Find collective nouns to describe different groups of animals.
  • Choose one of the animals in the story and write a detailed description of it.
  • Think of some speech / thought bubbles to add to the illustrations. What are the animals saying / thinking?
  • Use the title of the book to make your own story based on 'The Ugly Five'.
  • Imagine that the title of the book was 'The Ugly Six'. Make another page based on a sixth member of the group.
  • Could you turn part of the story into a play script and perform it to an audience?
  • Choose some of the animal's speech and rewrite it in the third person.

Maths

  • How many different animals are mentioned in the story?
  • Choose different animals from the African plain and sort them in order of size.

Science

  • Find out about habitats. What other animals might live on the African plain?
  • Make a food chain that includes some of the animals mentioned in the story.
  • Choose one of the animals in the story and write a report about it.
  • Think about how the animals are adapted to living in this particular habitat.
  • The five ugly animals cast a long shadow in the sunshine. What are shadows? How are they formed?
  • Why would you be lucky to see the Shy Five? What does it mean to be nocturnal and why do animals behave in this way?

Computing

  • Use art software to create a picture of one of the animals in the story.
  • Create a video documentary about these animals.
  • Design a game in which one of the Ugly Five has to find one of their babies.
  • Watch this video retelling of the story. Could you record your own version?

Design Technology

  • Could you make a model of one of the animals in the story?

Art

  • Can you create your own landscape painting / drawing showing the African plain?
  • Choose one of the animals and create a collage, drawing or painting of it.

Music

  • Choose one of the animals and create a melody based on it.
  • Compose a melody to accompany the song that the 'Ugly Five' sing throughout the story.

Geography

  • Look at a map of the world and find Africa. Where might these animals live? What different types of habitats might you find there? How are they similar / different to where you live?
  • Find your own home on the map and work out a route to Africa. How would you get there?

Physical education

  • Think about how the different animals move. Could you try to recreate these movements? Could you put together a dance or a performance to show these movements?

PSHE

  • Look through the story and sort some of the words that the author uses to describe the animals (e.g. ugly, spindly, graceful, divine). Which ones are positive and which are negative?
  • How would you feel if somebody called you ugly?
  • The Ugly Five become a group of friends at the end of the story. What are the qualities of a good friend?

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