Ben Blewitt lives in the back streets of central London with his parents. He longs to own a pet dog but his mother and father remind him of the practicalities – no open spaces or room to keep it.
His grandfather promises him a dog for his birthday but when the day arrives, he is presented instead with a wool work picture of a Chihuahua – a tiny dog from Mexico. At first, he is dismayed, upset and angry that his grandfather breaks his word. However, this leads to the fantastical story of Ben and his imagination. Ben invents a world inside his head and wonders, what about a dog so small you could see it only with your eyes shut?
Ben names his wool work dog ‘Chiquitito’ and together they travel all over London, to green parks and large open spaces – all in Ben’s head. Soon Ben’s travels in his head become a distraction and tragedy strikes....
This would be suitable for KS2 readers (aged 9-11) and the ending would perhaps surprise some children – a classic case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.
I shan’t reveal the rest of the story but I found the book to be a great example of children using their imagination and inventing a fantasy world. This is not a modern narrative – Philippa Pearce wrote this in 1962 – so children today may not be able to relate to everything in the text. There are plenty of references to old fashioned traditions, so this would be ideal for children learning about how people used to live.
I thought the book was a lovely way of expressing imagination and I am sure that other children could relate to Ben and his adventures.
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- Reading Age: 9 -11
- Reading Aloud Age: 8
If you like this you might like
- Tom's Midnight Garden by the same author
- (Taken from Reader's Review 1.) I found links to some old Jackanory episodes which may be useful: