As it’s Sunday, we decided to take full advantage of Daddy being home and get him involved in a bit of Book Squirms fun. Well, with Daddy involved what better choice of book could there be than The Great Snortle Hunt, a wonderfully written tale about a quest to find a big, hairy beast?
In The Great Snortle Hunt, written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Kate Hindley, we see Cat, Mouse, Dog and Rabbit gather the three Snortle-hunting essentials, a torch, rope and cake. Together they head off to seek out the mysterious and menacing Snortle in his ‘scary-creepy’ house. As the tension rises, they encounter self-closing doors, a faulty torch, ‘strange gurgly moans’ and an enormous, sleeping monster before fleeing out of his window and down the rickety drainpipe. Luckily for the four adventurers, the Snortle is far nicer than they had led one another to believe and volunteers his ‘fat, hairy tummy’ as a trampoline to help them down before befriending them and inviting them for tea.
What did we do?
First of all, A and I made a Snortle mask while V napped. I didn’t tell A why we did this; she didn’t need any more motivation than a passing mention of Snortles, glue and ‘making’ to be sold. All we needed was scissors, glue, card, tissue paper, and a pen and we had a pretty convincing Snortle mask. I left the book next to her as she was putting her Snortle together so she could link the activity clearly to the book and take a good level of ownership over making her mask.
Later in the afternoon, once V was awake and the mask had dried, Daddy snuck off upstairs, put on the mask and got into A’s bed. We had a sleeping, snoring Snortle just waiting to be found!
Downstairs, we read the beginning of our book, gathered the essential torch, rope and cake (or torch, belt and toy doughnut – real cake doesn’t last long enough to be a prop in this house) then set off for the stairs. I skipped a few sections as they were eager to get upstairs, although at the girls’ request we read the whole thing a little later at bedtime.
The look on their faces when they found the Snortle in bed was priceless! Daddy was letting out very convincing snores and we continued to read until he roared out ‘What are you all doing?’ the Snortle’s first line from the book. I didn’t see her face, but Daddy reliably informs me that poor little V looked briefly terrified before realising who was behind the mask and beaming.
A was swept away with excitement and chaos ensued as Daddy Snortle leapt out of bed and roared (less menacingly) at the girls and chased them. We kept reading the book and they ran around, before Daddy Snortle offered himself up as a trampoline. He read the Snortle’s lines, which added a new dimension to the story for the girls and they absolutely loved having him involved and performing.
This was fantastic fun, made all the better by having everyone joining in. I could have extended the preparation for this by making various other masks or costumes with the girls and I might do it again in the winter when we can make use of the dark in the evening.
The Snortle mask is now proudly displayed in A’s room and V was full of chatter about how it was Daddy behind the mask and that was funny. I loved how our exploration of the story moved through the house and will be keeping my eye out for more opportunities to hunt and explore with stories. Next stop, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!
How can you use this?
- Get everyone involved. I tend to take the lead with all of the book-related play, while Daddy sticks with more traditional story time, but mixing him into the action worked a treat and we’ll definitely do it again.
- Make masks of key characters and wear them while you’re reading.
- Is there a hunt in your book? Can you go on one? Go for it!
- Don’t be afraid of chaos. The most fun we had was running away from the Snortle.