|Image from MarshaDianeArnold.com|
The Huffle family is fast asleep in their farm house with the stars shining bright in the night sky, except Jack. He tosses and turns because he can hear a noise that rocks the floor and shakes the door. He hears a clamorous, thundering, ear-splitting snore! Jack gets out of bed and wakes up each of his family members hoping to stop the snore. Soon his entire family, from Papa Ben to Sweet Baby Sue, the dog and the Huffles twins too, have joined Jack on his hunt for the source of the snore. They continue their search into the barn, waking up the sheep, the goat, the cow, and more and finally in a stack of hay they find a tiny kitten, the culprit of the snore! But the kitten looks so hungry and lost that the Huffles decide not to disturb him and instead they settle down in the hay. Soon all the Huffles are asleep, but poor Molly Olsen down the road lies wide awake for she hears a roar of a snore!
The rhyming text of this nocturnal cumulative story is rhythmic, setting a brisk pace for the story. The text is mostly description of the sounds and movements of the people and animals on the Huffle family farm, making this a fun story to read aloud. Arnold uses repetition to great effect each time she names the Huffles who are searching. The acrylic illustrations create a stylistic world where size and shape are slightly skewed. Brush strokes and blending add texture to the nighttime world that contrasts the cool, dark colors of the night with the warm yellows and browns of the lantern lit barn. The roar of a snore is represented visually as a series of capital R’s that zig and zag around the pages.
Use this book for a pajama or bedtime storytime. Try pairing it with Pajama Pirates, Interrupting Chicken, Goodnight, Me or In the Night Kitchen. Follow up with some sleep themed songs, such as Are You Snoring?, Five Kittens in Bed, or your favorite lullaby.
The cumulative nature of this story makes it easy to read with a flannel board. Add characters as they appear in the story and point to them as they’re mentioned in the text. This makes the telling of the story longer, but more interactive.
Have kids retell the story. Assign each child a character from the book and tell them to pretend to sleep (with lots of pretend snoring) until the child playing Jack wakes them up. You may want to give them cards to wear around their neck with the name and a picture of their character. If you have a young group, it can be easier to play Jack yourself.
Read more about the inspirational snores behind this book on Arnold’s website, but also includes suggestions for activities.