Writer and mum-of-two Katie Gregory tested out some of the activities in this month’s story box with her three-year-old daughter just in time for Halloween…
‘I’m not scared of spiders any more,’ announced my three-year-old as she walked in to preschool. Her teacher smiled down at her in the doorway. ‘Oh well done!’ she grinned, and looked back up at me. ‘How on earth did you manage that?!’
Before I had a chance to answer, a little voice piped up. ‘I ate them for my lunch,’ she beamed, before disappearing in the direction of the play-kitchen.
The truth is we had eaten spiders for lunch – sort of. But they were made from bread and butter and cheese – with eight spidery red-pepper legs, and cherry tomato eyes – rather than actual arachnids.
Considering this is a toddler who shrieks at the mere mention of an eight-legged creature, the spider sandwiches went down surprisingly well. The idea came from the activity book inside month’s Story Box, a spook-tacular tale that arrived just in time for Halloween.
The story itself – Little Monster – is all about a baby who, it turns out, can talk. And she’s very demanding when it comes to dinner. Her brother and sister rustle up all sorts of interesting meals, including ‘a jelly with un yellow cheese, dos purple potatoes and tres green peas,’ which looks about as appetising as it sounds.
But this fang-toothed baby has other things in mind, and her tastes lean more towards furniture and cobwebs than anything found in a kitchen cupboard. As the kids conjure up more odd-looking recipes, the Spanish words for common foods like cheese and sweets are woven into the sentences, as well as the words for numbers and colours.
While my five-year-old enjoyed getting stuck in to the story, it was the activities that won it for my youngest. This month we made our spider sandwiches, had a go at playing I Spy using some of the new words, drew some foodie faces and played a Monster Memory game.
From the title and the Halloween theme, I had worried the story would be full of ghouls and gore, but it wasn’t. In fact, the little monster in question reminded me very much of my own fussy eater, who has – at least – added one new dish to her repertoire.
‘Mummy,’ she asked on the way home from pre-school, ‘can we have spiders for tea?’