Thursday, 8 March 2012

the snail and the whale

What a treat we had on Tuesday.  Mira came into our class with a basket of treasures.  Out of it she pulled a blue cloth and a sand-coloured scarf, both of which she laid out on the carpet.  They would represent the ocean and the seashore.


Next she placed a black ‘rock’ in one corner of the blue cloth, and tethered to these were two speed boats.


Africa was represented by a jungle-print cloth and the Arctic was a white one.


She populated her world with snowy polar bears, painted peacocks and stripy tigers and the ocean with octopuses and sharks and seahorses.


And then she held us spellbound as she related the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey-black humpback whale.  The tiny snail with the itchy foot who wanted to travel to see the world.  Who wrote a message on the black rock with her silvery trail.

‘Lift wanted around the world,’ it read.  And the whale, who happened to be passing by, saw the message and offered the snail a ride on his tail.


He took her to see towering icebergs and far-off lands with fiery mountains.  He took her down and down beneath the waves to see stripy fish and toothy sharks.  They travelled together until the day that the whale lost his way.  Two speedboats raced one another and upset the him with their terrible noise, making him swim too close to the shore…..


and as the tide went out, so the whale got stuck on the beach.

‘You must get off and back to the sea,’ cried the snail.

‘I can’t.  I’m too BIG,’ moaned the whale.

Then, ‘I’ve got it,’ cried the snail.  ‘I must not fail.’

And off she slithered to the nearby school, where she crept onto the blackboard and wrote another message with her silvery trail. 

‘Save the whale,’ this one read.

And the children ran from the school and poured buckets of water onto the back of the whale to keep him cool until the tide came back and he could float once again into the sea.  Hooray!

And so back they swam together to the rock where the snail’s friends were waiting to hear all about her adventures with her friend the whale.  And of course they all wanted a ride too.


Well wouldn’t you?

Do you think you could retell a story like Mira did?  What story would you choose?  You could even tell the same one as Mira did.  It was, ‘The Snail and the Whale,’ by Julia Donaldson.

With my very grateful thanks to Mira.

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