This & That, Mem Fox (author), Judy Horacek (illus.), Scholastic Australia, October 2015.
Mem Fox is a lengendary and much-loved Australian author, filling our homes with love and joy for more than 30 years. Her classics, including Possum Magic, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Koala Lou, and Baby Bedtime all possess those beautiful endearing, comforting and absolutely engaging qualities we all know and adore. Pairing up with sublime illustrator Judy Horacek on other beauties as Where is the Green Sheep? and Good Night Sleep Tight makes this combination a force to be reckoned with. Judy’s drawings are forever indelible, energetic, bold and vivid, befitting perfectly to her audience without fault. Find information about the author, Mem Fox here, and illustrator Judy Horacek here.
This & That REVIEW:
When this quintessential duo that brought us classics including Where is the Green Sheep? and Good Night Sleep Tight pair up once more, you know you’re onto a winner. Little ones will be instantly drawn in by the appealing colours and cuteness gracing the cover and opening page. They’ll just as willingly be pulled along with the stimulating, repetitive phrase, “I’ll tell you a story of this, and I’ll tell you a story of that.” But the attraction doesn’t stop there.
This is an adventurous and lively story of an adult and child journeying across wondrous lands and amongst exotic creatures and people. In collaboration, Horacek’s illustrations present a spectacular array of colour, life and energy that you can’t take your eyes away from.
When mother and baby ‘rat’ embark on their quest in a little, green box, you’ll never be more surprised at the fun that follows. Each turn, cleverly rhyming with the word ‘that’, thrusts this pair into a new, imaginative scene. From encountering a chimp with a magic ‘hat’, racing boys and their ‘cat’, crazy giraffes on a ‘mat’, kings and queens who ‘chat’ and speckled hens who are terribly, terribly ‘fat’. But at bedtime, with a twist of the recurrent phrase, mother safely settles her bub after this busy day with nothing other than a goodnight ‘kiss’.
Mem Fox’s expert use of language keeps her listeners engaged until the very end. Together with Judy Horacek’s child-friendly, bold and romping drawings, this book is a pure delight. There are a multitude of opportunites for little ones to use their imaginations, to explore the hidden, and familiar, details (including the subtle visual rhyming link of the main characters, and a well-known ball of wool!), and to simply just enjoy the ride.
‘This & That’ will have toddlers and preschoolers jumping at the chance to jaunt with these nimble rats again and again, knowing there is always a soft place to fall when the excitement is over.
1. What did the chimp pull out of his hat?
2. What kind of tree did the two rats climb?
3. Where are they hiding in the kings and queens image?
4. Which other story have you seen the sheep before?
5. Where do you think mother and baby will travel to next?
DISCUSSION / ACTIVITIES:
*ACTIVITY PACK AVAILABLE AT OUR SHOP (see below for Table of Contents).
– Rhyming Words. There are many rhyming words in the story that take the rats on different adventures, and they all rhyme with ‘that’. Can you find the words that rhyme with ‘that’? Can you ‘see’ any of these rhyming words in the pictures? (A great page to explore is the market scene). List the words on a piece of paper. Ask, Who tried to sit on a ‘mat’? Who had a ‘chat’? Who were ‘fat’? Draw a picture of each word as seen in the story.
TASK 1: Rhyming Words Writing.
Use different materials to trace, copy and write rhyming words (that, rat, hat, cat, chat, mat, fat). Materials could include: string, pipe cleaners, foam / sand, pebbles, paper / confetti, matchsticks, pom poms, playdough, light table, etc.
(See Activity Book PDF – This & That Handwriting, This & That Rhyming Words).
TASK 2: Rhyming Words Search and Find.
Match the word with the hidden picture and object in a sand tray. For example, pick up ‘hat’, find a picture of a hat, and a physical hat.
– Colour and Shape. There are lots of colours and shapes in the story. Pick a page to explore. What shapes can you see on this page? What shape is the bunting? What shape is a wheel? What shapes are in the night sky? On top of the carriage?
Can you find something that is green? Blue? Yellow? Can you find the rats on this page? Tell me where they are. What are they doing on the giraffe’s neck? Where are they sitting with the queen?
TASK 1: Shapes and prepositions.
Recognise and make familiar 2D shapes.
Recognise and name colours.
Use language appropriate to prepositions, such as ‘on top of’, ‘under’, ‘next to’, ‘on’, ‘over’, ‘beneath’, ‘besides’.
There are many colourful shapes to be found in the story. Make your own by cutting out coloured paper. For example, rainbow triangle bunting, brown circular coconuts, blue rectangular mat, green square box, etc. Whilst referencing the colours, discuss and act out ‘where’ the characters used these objects. ‘The rats ran across ‘the top of‘ the rainbow bunting’, ‘They sat ‘inside‘ the green box’, ‘The giraffes tried to sit ‘on‘ the mat’, and so on. Draw a picture of the rats doing some of these actions and write a sentence about it.
TASK 2: Bunting Number Lines.
Counting to and from 10.
One-to-one correspondence and understanding of number order.
The rats ran along the top of the bunting in the market scene. Imagine there were 10 rats and 10 triangles in the bunting! You can make it in this fun counting activity!
Materials: Coloured and white paper, pencil / texta, scissors, sticky tape, string / ribbon.
1. On (your choice of colour) paper, draw 10 rats (or mice). (Easy to draw mice are semi-circles with a dot for an eye, a curve for an ear, a small nose and a long tail – the tail can be cut from a strip and stuck on.) Cut them out.
2. Stick the tails to the rats. On each rat write the numbers 1 – 10.
3. Draw a triangle template and with different coloured paper, trace and cut out 10 triangles.
4. Line up your triangles edge-to-edge. Measure a piece of string or ribbon to fit this length. Cut and stick each triangle onto the string to form a bunting, and write the numbers 1 – 10 on each triangle in order.
5. Game 1 – Ask the child to point and say all the numbers on the rats and on the triangles in order. Now do it backwards.
6. Game 2 – Mix up the rats and ask the child to take one at a time and match its number with that on the bunting. Continue until all matched. Count the numbers again, forwards and backwards.
Idea adapted from Rainy Day Mum.
(Template available in the Activity Book PDF).
The rats in the story were very lively and active! What did they do after they fell down the waterfall? How did they get on top of the elephant’s back? How did they get off the giraffe? How did they get back home again? What adventures would you like to go on?
Construct an obstacle course of the rats’ journey using different materials, fabrics, equipment around the room. For example, a green painted box to sit in, a blue sheet for a river, a large box for a cave, a tree / chair / pile of pillows for a coconut tree (make sure it’s safe to climb!), a rug / mat for the giraffes’ mat, a bike / cart for a carriage, a tent for a castle, and so on. Tell the story as the child wonders through each part. Encourage child to state their actions using language as seen in the Numeracy prepositions activity.
VISUAL ARTS / TECHNOLOGY.
There are lots of different kinds of people and animals in the story. Can you tell me what they are wearing? What kinds of transport can you see? What kinds of homes or shelters can you see? If we were to make one of these what things do you think we might need?
A magnificent array of homemade toys that will enable you to recreate your own version of ‘This & That‘ is available at Handmade Charlotte. Check out the gorgeous mice in a tin, painted house blocks, exotic people dolls and a helicopter that could easily transform into a carriage! Love it!
You’ve already made some colourful bunting in the Numeracy counting activity, so why not add some adorable, patterned mice (or rats) to hang off it (or anywhere else in your room)?! Check out this great idea from Living Locurto.
The illustrator, Judy Horacek had to mix colours to make new colours for her paintings. Do you know what the primary colours are? What colour do you think red and yellow mixed together would make? Can you find this colour in the book? What about red and blue? Blue and yellow?
What I love about ‘This & That’ is the amazing, bold colour palette and its clever use of primary and secondary colours. Explore the science of colour mixing with this fun and easy-to-remember strategy of mixing primary colours to make secondary colours. Make your own Heart Mice (or Rats) with this cool activity from Toddler Approved.
THIS & THAT ACTIVITY PACK PDF
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Click to purchase
1. Handwriting Rhyming Words – practice ‘Say’, ‘Trace’, ‘Copy’, ‘Draw’ of each rhyming word from the story. Best laminated for re-use and durability.
2. Enlarged Rhyming Words – extend rhyming word knowledge by tracing the words using a range of craft materials and writing tools. Best enlarged to A3.
3. This & That Find-a-Word – Find and colour the rhyming words from the story.
4. Rat Headband – Use the templates to create a rat headband and act out the actions of the characters. Role play helps build vocabulary and make connections to the text.
5. Bunting Number Line – Use the templates to construct your own mice (or rats) and bunting number line for counting and number recognition practice.
CARD GAMES (Literacy and Numeracy)
6. Playing Cards include:
– ‘at’ slider for reinforcement of phonics and rhyming words.
– Picture / Word Cards and Number / Shape Cards for playing games including Snap, Memory, Slaprat and Go Fish!
* Playing Cards best laminated for durability. Requires 2-4 copies printed.
7. Story / Number Cube – Use the picture as inspiration for making up your own story, or use the numbers as a die to play number games.
8. Homemade Paper Roll Rats – Follow these simple instructions to make your own adorable rats.
9. This & That Party Supplies – Printables to create your own party including party hats, bunting (from Bunting Number Line activity), and labels for cupcakes, party bags, badges, food labels, etc. Best printed on card stock.
*Watermarks not included. Click here to purchase.
All sourced resources have been credited. These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written consent.
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This review and lesson plans are not paid and are my own educated opinion.
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