The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone - Plants: 7-9

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering  involves around a boy, living in the grim and depressing Cementland, who searches amongst the heaping piles of junk for some treasure, something beautiful. Eventually he finds a box and with an instruction to plant it into the earth. This was a most unpromising instruction and nothing happens. The next day he returns to the spot and the thing he planted into the earth has been dug up. So the boy creates a guard monster to prevent anything else happening to his treasure. This is Frog Belly Rat Bone who springs into life and gets to work protecting the treasure from three robbers - a rat, a rabbit and a fruitfly. Slowly but surely transformation happens in Cementland. The robbers join with Frog Belly Rat Bone and the boy to tend to the treasures as they grow. Cementland is now full of colour.

The story of Frog Belly Rat Bone provides a good setting for investigating plants and their benefits to our environment. Children could :

  • identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers
  • explore the requirements of plants for life and growth (air, light, water, nutrients from soil, and room to grow) and how they vary from plant to plant 
  • investigate the way in which water is transported within plants
  • explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Key scientific vocabulary: air, nutrients, soil, fertiliser, transported​, life cycle, pollination, seed formation, seed dispersal

Other fiction books with a  similar theme include:

The Hidden Forest – Jeannie Baker

George and Flora’s Secret Garden – Jo Elworthy

George saves the world by lunchtime – Jo Elworthy

Stick Man – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Seeds of Change:Wangari’s Gift to the World – Sonia Lynn Sadler

Dandelion Seed – Joseph Anthony