book cover Big Feet, Very Sweet
by Vashti Farrer and Neil Curtis

Novel | 64 pp | Years 24

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Assessment

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GETTING STARTED

[ Overview | Author profile | Illustrator profile | Focus questions ]

Overview

Big Feet, Very Sweet is a short and funny story about Prince Flip-Flop and his brother Prince Flim-Flam who are both trying to win the love of Princess Marigold. Prince Flip-Flop is a rugged and handsome football player for the Bengal Tigers and assumes that, because of his success and good looks, Princess Marigold must fall in love with him. However, the untidy, quiet and poetic Prince Flim-Flam has other qualities and talents to offer to the flower-loving Princess.

Vashti Farrer's light-hearted and amusing tale challenges young readers to consider how behaviour and actions can be more important than good looks or being famous. Neil Curtis' black and white illustrations are comical and appear on every double page spread, breaking up the text and adding to the enjoyment of the story. Exaggerated expressions and features emphasise the points being made in the story as well as adding a light touch of humour. The text, layout and illustrations support early independent readers.

Author profile

Vashti Farrer was raised by grandparents who passed on to her a love of history and art. She studied archaeology, ancient history and English literature before beginning work at the Mitchell Library and developing an interest in Australian history. Vashti is married and has three grown up children and a granddaughter. She has worked as an advertising copywriter, librarian, book reviewer, film extra and freelance writer.

Her published children's books include Escape to Eaglehawk, Eureka Stockade, Ned's Kang-u-roo, Plagues and Federation: The Diary of Kitty Barnes, 1900, Lulubelle and Her Bones, ATALANTA: The Fastest Runner in the World and Mr Noah and the Cats (also illustrated by Neil Curtis) which was short-listed in the 2005 Children Book Council of Australia awards. You can find out more about her books on the Vashti Farrer website (http://www.vashtifarrer.com).

Illustrator profile

Neil Curtis was born in the East End of London and immigrated with his parents to Broadmeadows, just north of Melbourne, in the late 1950s. He found the move difficult as both his accent and his lack of interest in sport made it difficult for him to be accepted. Neil now lives in Melbourne where he works as a freelance illustrator. His work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally, and he has been awarded the Silver Award for Illustration by the Australian Writers and Art Directors Association. Neil has published a number of children's books including The Roo Book and Bear Dinkum, as well as illustrating short novels such as Big Feet, Very Sweet and collaborating with Joan Grant to illustrate Cat and Fish and Cat and Fish Go to See.

Focus questions

Before reading the book

  • Could there be any possible advantages to having big feet? Consider activities that big feet could be useful for and predict possible meanings for the title.
  • What positions and personalities do you think the characters on the front cover will have? Explain your reasons.
  • After reading the back cover information, predict what type of story you think this will be. Give reasons for your answer.
  • From the information provided in the blurb and cover illustrations, name and describe the main characters.

During and after reading the book

  • When and where do you think the story takes place? Provide examples to support your answer.
  • Describe the different ways that each prince presents himself to Princess Marigold. What does this tell us about the personalities of each prince?
  • How would you describe the behaviour of Princess Marigold to each prince?
  • In what ways can you connect the title to the events in the story?
  • How does Princess Marigold feel about:
    1. football
    2. poetry
    3. marigolds.
    Give an example for each to support your answer.


© Curriculum Corporation 2006