Gloria’s Porridge is inspired by a traditional Ethiopian folk tale which Elizabeth Laird heard during her travels in that country several years ago. The story is brought to life for children with humour and Toby Newsome’s eye catching, distinctive illustrations but imparts some sensible advice along the way.
When Gloria is making porridge one day she is so hungry that she decides that she will keep it all to herself, even when Cat, who is hungry too, asks her for some. When Gloria goes to fetch some water to add to the porridge Cat takes matters into his own hands and decides to help himself to a little of it. A little soon turns in to a lot and by the time Gloria returns Cat has eaten all the porridge! Gloria is angry and the frightened Cat rushes out of the door. He in turn frightens the donkey and in no time there is chaos and disruption. Perhaps wise Fox can put things right?
Gloria’s Porridge is an appealing picture book; the colourful front cover full of smiles is tempting and the text has a lively, bounce to it which would make it fun to read aloud. Like many traditional tales it has a message to impart to its readers and listeners. Young children will see the repercussions from one small act and how it can cause problems for others. This is a tricky topic for them to understand but in this form is easier for them to relate to. There is also the opportunity to talk about sharing what we have with others.
The story itself has its origins in Ethiopia however Toby Newsome was born in South Africa and his lovely illustrations are inspired by his surroundings there. This provides a mix of the different cultures within this picture book. The original folk tale which prompted Elizabeth Laird to write this book is called The Bear and the Woman and can be found on the Ethiopian Folk Tales website. This is an excellent resource if you are wanting to discover more traditional stories. There are also a range of activities and teaching resources linked to the book on the Tiny Owl website.
Gloria’s Porridge was published in May 2021 by Tiny Owl and is available to purchase on their website. Tiny Owl produce some delightful picture books for young children and for little ones just discovering the joy of books I can recommend Where’s Baby Elephant by Ali Khodai.