Posted 20 hours ago

Sharing a Shell

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Violent cannibalistic adventure featuring three rootless wanderers drifting from one temporary abode to another, constantly menaced by vast predatory monsters. Poor crab has lost his shell, and nobody wants to share. But when he finally finds a shell of his own, he is surprised to find himself being asked to move over! A story about sharing and friendship, this board book is both touching and amusing. Sharing a Shell is a charming underwater tale of friendship and fun from the stellar picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, creators of What the Ladybird Heard. With brilliant rhythmic verse, bright and distinctive illustrations, this is a firm favourite with children and parents alike.

Former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson is basically the goddess of wordsmithery, as far as I can tell. She's most famous for creating The Gruffalo with Axel Scheffler but has also written about a billion Oxford Learning Tree early readers and a number of lovely books with illustrator Lydia Monks.Before Malcolm and I had our three sons we used to go busking together and I would write special songs for each country; the best one was in Italian about pasta. I grew up in a tall Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him).

With her 2004 picture book Sharing a Shell British children's author Julia Donaldson has a hermit crab busily searching on the beach and in tidal pools for a new home as his/her older abode is no longer big enough. And upon finding a new and suitably spacious shell in which to live, a sea anemone comes along and asks to share the hermit crab's new place of residence with the promise to protect the crab (and of course also the shell) from predators, and then a passing bristleworm also asks, offering to keep the shell clean ad tidy in return (and with the crab quite readily agreeing to basically having two permanent roommates). But after a period of time a bigger shell is once again needed, and while at first the hermit carb, sea anemone and bristleworm squabble amongst themselves and end up going their separate ways, at the end of Sharing a Shell, the bristleworm finds a new and larger shell, and crab, sea anemone and bristleworm once again move in together.One of my television songs, A SQUASH AND A SQUEEZE, was made into a book in 1993, with illustrations by the wonderful Axel Scheffler. It was great to hold the book in my hand without it vanishing in the air the way the songs did. This prompted me to unearth some plays I’d written for a school reading group, and since then I’ve had 20 plays published. Most children love acting and it’s a tremendous way to improve their reading. Choose one of the animals in the story and find out about it. Can you write a report about where it lives, what it eats, how it might defend itself etc.?

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