In this delightful book by Verna Ardema, Rabbit comes home to find that a “bad animal” is inside her house. She can’t see who it is, but when she starts to open the door, a booming voice says, “I am the long one. I eat trees and trample on elephants. Go away! Or I’ll trample on you!”
Rabbit is frightened and dismayed. How will she ever be able to get the bad animal out of her house? The story, adapted from a Masai tale, tells how Rabbit’s friends try to help her solve her problem.
This is a wonderful read-along book. When the scary voice comes from inside, children love to chant along: “I am the long one. I eat trees and trample on elephants. Go away! Or I’ll trample on you!”
There is almost limitless potential for creating activities that relate to this book. It can serve as a jumping off point or enhancement for a unit on Africa, on folk tales, on other cultures, or on the various animals in the story.
The revelation of the “scary animal’s” identity could launch an activity about sound amplification. A discussion about the different ways each animal tried to solve the problem could lead to activities about empathy and problem-solving.
Felt/Magnetic/Flannel Board Activity Set
Children will love re-telling this story using a flannel/felt/magnetic board activity set. Come back later this week for instructions on to make your own set from the original illustrations or from our free downloadable patterns.
Put on a Play
The story also makes a wonderful play, if you’re using it in a classroom or if you have the neighborhood kids over on a rainy day. The book is easily adapted into a script, with the dialogue as the character lines and the narrative as stage directions or exposition by a narrator. (If you’re not sure how to go about turning a story into a script, we’ll be writing an article about that in just a few days.)
If the children are old enough to read, you can give them scripts to read. If not, help them learn their parts by rote. If you have more children than you have parts, you can cast children as parts of the scenery or give them African instruments to play.
Props and Scenery
Props and scenery are simple:
Optional backdrop – Attach a blanket or shower curtain with an African theme to the wall behind the “stage,” or have the children draw a scene on butcher paper and attach it.
Rabbit’s House – A refrigerator box makes a great hut, and children will enjoy decorating it. But you don’t have to be nearly so fancy. A blanket draped over two chairs makes a perfectly serviceable house.
A log to sit on – If you’re industrious, you can make one from chicken wire and papier mache, then paint it. But a log-shaped bolster or rolled up pillow will do just fine.
A tree – You could make one from butcher paper and put it on the wall, or use a broom or mop. Or a child could play the role of the tree, by standing still with arms held out and bent like branches.
A lake – A piece of blue cloth works well for the lake, either held vertically between two sticks or laid flat on the ground.
A big leaf to be used as a bullhorn – a piece of green construction paper with rounded edges. You can draw on the veins with a marker.
Animal masks (buy ready-made masks, make your own from papier mache, or come back soon and download our free patterns)
- The Long One
Can you think of other activities to do after reading Who’s in Rabbit’s House? Please share them in the comments.