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Riverside Junior School


Wednesday 20th January

Just So Stories


Published in 1902 the Just So Stories are fantasy explanations for how animal characteristics ‘evolved’. Each tale is full of marvels, but the real magic in them is their language, which explodes like fireworks in your ears. It thrums with a uniquely twirly dancing rhythm that sweeps you up like a magic carpet; it is crammed with lists of remote, exotic places that conjure the wonders of the wide, wide world.




TASK 1- How the Whale got his Throat


Kipling’s wonderful use of rhyme within the prose gives his writing a distinctive feel. Have a read of the story How the Whale Got his Throat and make notes of anything you notice about the language.


  1. What did you like about this story compared to the Elephant's Child?
  2. What did you dislike?
  3.  What puzzled you?
  4. What connections were there (with any other texts, films, stories)?
  5. What did you notice about the language?

How The Whale Got His Throat by Rudyard Kipling

This is a story by Rudyard Kipling from his Just So Stories series.In this tale you will hear why a creature as huge as a whale can only eat the tiniest of food.

TASK 2 - Grammar Task 


Highlight all the verbs (doing words) in this passage then copy them into your book in rhyming pairs.


But as soon as the Mariner, who was a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity, found himself truly inside the Whale’s warm, dark, inside cupboards, he stumped and he jumped and he thumped and he bumped, and he pranced and he danced, and he banged and he clanged, and he hit and he bit, and he leaped and he creeped, and he prowled and he howled, and he hopped and he dropped, and he cried and he sighed, and he crawled and he bawled, and he stepped and he lepped, and he danced hornpipes where he shouldn’t, and the Whale felt most unhappy indeed.


Two of the words are not the proper words, put rings around them and write the correct one. Why do you think Kipling used these?


TASK 3 - Create your own Just So Story


You are going to be composing your own Just So Stories along the lines of the way the ‘How the…’ stories were composed. Choose an animal (a snail, perhaps) and create a title (How the Snail got their Shell). Choose one of them and invent what you think happened. Or if you prefer you can choose a different animal such as an octopus, a rattlesnake or a seahorse and explain how that became the way it is. Let your imagination go wild, nothing needs to be possible! Write as much as you can in the style of Rudyard Kipling.




Next, to help you plan your just so story, complete the story map below thinking about...


  1. Beginning - What happens at the beginning? Who are the main characters? Where is it set? How are the characters feeling?
  2. Build up - What happens next? How does the story hint at a problem? How are the characters feeling?
  3. Problem - What is the problem within the story? How are the characters feeling?
  4. Resolution - How is this problem resolved/ sorted out? How are the characters feeling?
  5. Ending - How does the story end? Does it end happily? Is there a twist to the plot? How are the characters feeling?

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