|November is picturebook month, check out the different activities on the official website and celebrate picturebooks!|
|Back and front covers|
This visual-verbal rhythm, for this is exactly what it is, repeats itself three more times. The robbers return again, asking for hot peppers, but the maiden had no more so she gives them corn... "and twenty-four robbers said, 'See you in the morn!'" The three spreads show the robbers surrounding the maiden, calling out for hot peppers and then leaving triumphantly carrying a cob of corn. And of course they return the next "morn", asking for more corn...
The maiden explains, "I didn't have corn, but I had a little flour. They put it in their sack and said, 'See you in an hour!'" And off they go, grinning from ear to ear!
Sure enough, "Not this hour, but the hour before ..." the robbers appear again.
This is such a flamboyant picturebook with its brightly coloured illustrations of wild robbers and a generous maiden. Each of the spreads, you may have noticed, is framed in a pastel colour, blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange and green. This framing gives the feeling of detachment, indeed we are being told about something which has already happened, so we look through the calm, pastel coloured frames as the Maiden's story develops and know we cannot intervene, except of course chant along to the rhythmic verbal text and giggle at the illustrations.
A nice activity to get the children thinking is to ask how long it took for the story to happen. They could draw a time line and illustrate it with the three different ingredients and the final pot of stew. You could also discuss with the children how the robbers learned that sharing is better than stealing. And, if the children you share this story with are old enough and can skip, why not skip to the original rhyme. Finally the rhythmic beat within the verbal is so catchy (that's why we skipped to it when I was a kid!), why not get your children to chant it by heart and invent some actions, it could almost become a rap. Put on a show for the rest of the school, it'll be a hoot!