What a great excuse to read Beverley Naidoo's fantastic story, The Great Tug of War about how a hare tricks hippo and elephant into a pulling contest with one another. There are many other versions of this story around, especially in beginning reading schemes, but this one is a short novella format which the children love and it uses the language of Botswana. It is perfect for the Book Week theme too, if you are looking for stories from Africa.
Interestingly, one of the books on the Early Childhood Book Week shortlist, The Tall Man and the Twelve Babies also has a tug of war, albeit an impromptu one. In this story the tall man is inadvertently locked outside his apartment with six of the babies and the cat, whilethe other six babies are still in the apartment with the keys. He attempts to climb through the catflap and gets stuck. He asks the babies on both ends of him to pull and a tug of war ensues, obviously not the way to dislodge him. The preschoolers I have read the story to this week have found it very funny and had plenty of suggestions as to what he should have done! This amusing story by Tom Champion and his mother, Kilmeny Niland and illustrated by his aunt Deborah Niland is definitely worth reading to the very young.