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Behind the yellow door

Natural World Storybox

By Helen Bromley, Yellow Door, pound;30

www.yellow-door.net

Beside a shimmering blue sea, a tyrannosaurus rex seeks its prey among the boulders, while a pterodactyl ominously flies past. Or a cobra wriggles through the pebbles down a mossy green bank, unaware that a scorpion and a giant spider lie in its path.

The scenarios may not always accord with strict scientific fact but the possibilities are as wide as children's imaginations.

The Natural World Storybox unfolds to make a sturdy setting 13cm high, 30cm across and 20cm deep. Eight plastic dinosaurs and 12 minibeasts are accompanied by a packet of polished stones and two pieces of coloured fabric.

It's a simple enough idea but nicely done, though most small children will want to add to the cast by importing human characters from the Playmobil box, with probably a pig and a train to join them.

Teachers can get ideas from the accompanying booklet or devise their own - using the set in literacy sessions, adding music, designing elaborate trees and mountains, turning narratives into dramas and then filming the whole process

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