This seems to be a simple story told in language that seems easy to understand, but it raises all kinds of interesting questions. Most of the action takes place in a desert in Texas, so it's a good book for a hot summer's day.
With the Olympics nearly over and the Paralympics about to begin in Rio, Brazil is in the news all the time. This is a most wonderful story of adventure on the River Amazon. Like most books by Eva Ibbotson, it has something to appeal to everyone.
This book is a short book containing a long poem. It's also surprisingly easy to learn by heart.
You may already know the story but this version, told in rollicking rhyme, is the best. If you've ever struggled to find words that rhyme, you'll be filled with admiration and envy for Robert Browning's ingenious word pairings. Some of them will be words you didn't even know existed - for years I've been suspicious about 'nuncheon' - but I've just googled it - and it's a real word.
The main message of the story is, of course, pay what you owe - but it's instructive in lots of other ways : make sure the people you've voted for do their job - don't fall for a nice tune - sometimes it's best to be at the back of the queue....
This poem appears in lots of children's anthologies, probably just because it's about an animal. Actually if you try to read it too carefully, it doesn't really make sense, and it even starts off by getting the spelling wrong.
Why do I like it then?
I think the point about the strange spelling is that it warns you the poem isn't so much about a real animal as about the ideas that animal inspires - ferocity and untamed strength. You needn't think too hard about it; just enjoy the thrilling images of fire and creation.
At the end, the poem asks a simple question - what kind of world can contain both the gentle , harmless lamb and the 'deadly' tiger?
Even a hundred years ago, there were 100,000 tigers alive in the world. Now there are less than half that number and three species are already extinct,
The tiger may have a different question . What kind of world contains grass-eating lambs, meat-eating tigers and humans , who not only destroy habitats but kill other creatures for fun?
One of my students was the first in his local bookshop to get his hands on it , at midnight last Saturday. At first he was disappointed it was a play script, not a novel - he said he 'wanted more detail'. But then we started reading it...
If you're going on a family holiday, try to get hold of a couple of copies for reading aloud together. Cheaper than one theatre ticket, and perfect entertainment for stormy nights in a tent.
graduated with an MA in English from Somerville College, Oxford University, and continued her post-graduate studies with a PGCE, specialising in Primary Education.