Sunday, December 28, 2014

Strat and Chatto by Jan Mark illustrated by David Hughes

Strat and Chatto is a terrific way to introduce trickster tales to young readers.  Chatto is a cat with a problem.  Strat is rat with a solution - well a solution to his own housing problem.

Using the wonderful book Elmer in the Snow we introduce our students to the idea that every thing is relative.  Elmer's friends complain they are cold so Elmer takes them up to the snow covered hills where they enjoy a day frolicking in the snow. When they return home the temperature has not changed but their perception has - now the elephants feel so warm.

Chatto explains his problem to Strat.  There is one very pesky mouse living in his kitchen hurling lentils at his head. Strat, short for Stratorat, has a solution.  He invites his friends to visit Chatto. His friends are bats, cockroaches and silverfish.

"When are you going to act?' cried Chatto.  'I have bats on the cup hooks, cockroaches in the corners and sixty-five silverfish slithering about in the cracks ... also... that low-down mouse is still dropping lentils on my head from a great height."

Good friend that he is, Strat expels all these pests and Chatto offers to reward him.  All Chatto wants is bed and board and a lick of cheese.  Why the need for all this elaborate trickery?  Strat has been living across the road in a building with the word CONDEMNED on the door.

Strat and Chatto is not a new book.  It was first published in 1989 but you might be lucky and find it in a library.  This was another of the books I picked out as we completed our stocktake or library inventory.  I am including an illustration here because they are brilliant.

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