‘Are you coming to lessons today Furball?’ Bruno asked as he hurried past.
‘No Dummo,’ said Furball, ‘I’m too clever to go to lessons.’
Furball, the cat, is sure that she knows it all. There’s no need for her to go to lessons with all the other Zen animals. She’d much prefer to just sit on a rock, soaking up the warmth and being superior. She’s quite unpleasant too, not content to just be superior, but feeling the need to make sure others know it. She knows it all. There’s a lesson she missed out on though, and by the end of the story, Furball knows something new. Illustrations focus on animals stepping into Furball’s world before hurrying on. The final few spreads take the reader to where the other animals have been working, before the final illustration shows Furball after her ‘lesson’. The final openings take a look at the origin of the Zen philosophy and revisit the lesson illustrated here. End papers, front and back covers and all text pages, carry the symbol of the Zen Tails.
Zen Tails The Know It All is one of a series of tales designed to illuminate a message. The text is simple, the message clear. There are consequences for behaviours. If you think you know it all, there is a lesson coming to you to demonstrate that you don’t. Humility and a preparedness to learn may help you to progress through life. Readers can interpret the hints in each illustration which build to the conclusion, with the consequences for know-it-all Furball. Recommended for lower- to mid-primary readers.
Zen Tails The Know It All, Peter Whitfield ill Nancy Bevington
New Frontier Publishing 2009
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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