‘The Smeds and the Smoos’ by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’
This is another great story book from the writers of many of our favourite children’s books like ‘The Gruffalo’, ‘Stick Man’ and ‘Room on the Broom’. This story has everything a child could ask for – aliens, space travel, adventure, friendship. The story has an important message though which is conveyed well, in a fun, clear, easy-to-understand way that will engage young children.
The ‘Smeds and the Smoos’ is a sort of Romeo and Juliet story (and I’m all for introducing children to Shakespeare from an early age) with a happy ending though. The story is set on a faraway planet inhabited by two sets of aliens: the red Smeds and the blue Smoos. Unfortunately, the two don’t mix, with the older generation warning their younger children about the strange ways of their enemies. Thankfully, a Smed named Janet and a Smoo named Bill grow bored of this status quo and end up playing together in a wood. Eventually, the pair fall in love and plan to marry. I’m sure you can imagine how their families react to this!
Deciding to run away, the pair disappear and the other Smeds and Smoos have to come together in search of their missing family. At the end everyone realises that just because we are different it doesn’t mean we can’t be together, play with each other, be friends… fall in love even.
The rhyming element makes it fun to read, with lots of made up words like ‘loobular lake’ and ‘humplety hill’ and the illustrations are bright, wacky and full of detail. There is a lot to discuss in this book, from the pictures, the vocabulary, to the story and the meaning within. I hope you enjoy this story book as much as I did. Let me know your thoughts.
Ways to extend the story:
Make up a new story about two people, animals or aliens who want to be friends but are not allowed.
There are lots of made-up words in this book. Can you make a glossary to explain what they all mean? Could you make up some of your own words and write definitions?
Write a diary entry for Janet or Bill from a time when they crept off to play in the Wurpular Wood together. Make a list of all the rhyming words in the book. Can you think of other words that rhyme with those?
Do your own puppet show of the story!