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The Frogs’ Story

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By Antony Lishak — Literacy Time PLUS Writer-in-residence

In this third part of our Baby Bear Comes Home story series, by Literacy Time PLUS Writer-in-residence Antony Lishak, we return to the pond – scene of Mummy and Daddy Bear’s dramatic rescue in Story 1 – where the frogs are struggling to protect their precious royal treasure from the nasty toad gang.

These teachers’ notes refer to the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS for Ages 5 to 7, November 2009.

frogstory.jpg

Before reading

  • If you have been following the Baby Bear Comes Home series, start the session by referring back to the first story (Poster 2, Issue 43, July 09). We first met the frogs as they leap-frogged Mummy and Daddy Bear across the pond. Look at the illustrations and see what clues the children can find that would suggest that the frogs come from a colony of hoarders.
  • Speculate on the conversation the two frogs had as they made their way back to the pond from the school. Use the cheeky chuckle on the face of the bespectacled frog at the foot of the school steps as a starting point. What might the frogs be thinking?

Reading and responding

  • Share-read the leaflet – perhaps inviting one child to narrate, while others in the group take on parts and read the speech bubbles associated with that character.

About the author

Baby Bear Comes Home by Antony Lishak was first published as a Heinemann KS1 Blue Bananas fiction book. Read Antony’s online blog at literacytimeauthor.blogspot.com or visit www.antonylishak.com for more information about his books and school visits.

Animal stereotypes

  • Which other stories do the children know that feature frogs? What are the frogs like in those tales? One they are likely to list is the Grimm’s fairy tale The Frog Prince. Talk about how an idea from one story, written 200 years ago, has become woven into our culture and now appears in many different forms, with frogs often associated with royalty in stories. Consider why the author has used a royal theme here.
  • To extend this further you could talk about other stereotypes in stories. Which animals are often evil (wolves, snakes, rats)? Which animals are often friendly, wise or shy? The children may be interested to know that when the original version of Baby Bear Comes Home was translated into Spanish, the publishers decided to have a different cover to the English version. The image they chose for the cover included the frogs because frogs were considered to be as appealing to Spanish children as teddy bears are in England.
  • Consider who the ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ are in this story. What happens in the story to help them form that opinion? Talk about how readers instinctively empathise with the main characters in a story. Ask the children how they would feel about the story if the toads succeeded in stealing the treasure and it ended with the frogs destitute and defeated.
  • The struggle of good and evil, right and wrong, and friends and enemies is at the heart of practically all storytelling. Ask the children (perhaps as homework) to find examples of this in other books they have read, as well as films and television programmes they may have seen.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Reception through to Year 3, and to identify links with Year 1 and 2 Planning Units.

Ideas for writing

As an extension of the ‘goodies and baddies’ theme, ask the children how their perception of the story might change if they knew that, until last year, the toad leader’s family used to live in the pond. They lived there very happily until they were invaded and defeated by the frogs. During the battle, the toad leader lost his leg and eye at the hands of the Frog King who is now sitting on his throne. After an initial discussion ask the children to work in pairs or individually to:

write a story about the Frog invasion, called The Toads’ Story;

or, rewrite The Frogs’ Story from the toads’ point of view. The children could write the story using straightforward narrative or through pictures and captions.

More able children could try writing the story in the first person, in the style of a diary entry written by the toad leader.

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