Whatever pops up

2nd May 2003 at 01:00
Take young pupils on a reading adventure while introducing linguistic skills and even sharing hidden jokes. Jane Doonan leads the way

WHERE , OH WHERE, IS KIPPER'S BEAR? By Mike Inkpen. Hodder Children's Books, pound;14.99

With this sturdy pop-up picture book, suitable for Year 1, we join pup Kipper in the hunt for his missing teddy in a rhyming story.

Children are fascinated by pop-ups and experience Kipper's situation first-hand, so their attention is always focused. The story is strong enough to provide suspense when new, and enjoyable anticipation when re-reading.

Children encounter humour, the pleasures of rhythm and rhyme, the almost magical effects of lifted flaps, pulled tabs and a beam of light from Teddy's tiny torch. They experience structures and devices they will go on to meet in literature: irony; filling narrative gaps; discovering a secret unknown to the narrator; the significance of recurring patterns; boundary-breaking (when a character addresses the reader); and the presence of alternative endings. Author Mick Inkpen does all this with a cat concealed in a tree, gymnastic pigs, toys hidden in beds, Kipper appearing at the pull of a tab and shouting "Boo!" at us and, finally, through Kipper's expression as he snuggles down to sleep - the words say the hunt has failed, but it seems Kipper has found Teddy's den under his duvet but isn't letting on, sharing a joke with the reader at the narrator's expense.



* Language: the text's use of words benefits from being read aloud and shared, while the structure of the story raises questions and opportunities for speculation and prediction.

* Speaking and listening: the book lets readers identify and respond to sound patterns in language. They can read with rhythm, try out different voice intonations and think about how the hidden characters' lines should be voiced.

* Reading: try linking sound and letter patterns - the exploration of rhyme in relation to the acquisition of early phonic skills and learning that sounds may have different spellings (bear, there, stair) while same spellings may have different sounds.

* Writing: use the book as a tool to make word bubbles and word strings.

* Other stories: links can be established with We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Walker Books).


Try designing and making a den for a toy or a model of a house with a hiding place.

Art and design

Make a greetings card using a simple flap device or get pupils to draw themselves in bed, using a flap as a cover to conceal the image of a favourite toy.


The book allows a means to investigate the life processes of moles and voles.


Kipper's Bear promotes discussion about the feelings expressed within it and about real-life situations. Subjects could include being afraid of the dark, anecdotes about dens, uses for torches and opinions as to whether there are people on the Moon.

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