Four siblings are on their way to find the Sandy (a magical Genie who grants them wishes that last a day) when one of them, Robert, ends up in a fight with a bully. Afterwards, Robert expresses a wish to be bigger. This wish is granted but, soon afterwards, the children learn that being that big also has disadvantages. There is a fair in town and they decide to show off giant Robert for money. Cyril comes up with a plan to deal with the fact that Robert will return to his normal size once the sun sets.

Grammatically, this story is useful to revise comparative and superlative structures and the expression of wishes, starting with “I wish I were…”, which, according to the level of the students, could be an opportunity for the teacher to explain the traces of subjunctive present in today’s English. Orally, the story could be used to learn about the expression of different emotions in this language. The story is also suitable to learn plenty of vocabulary related to fairs and circuses. To this end, the following words have been defined in the text: freak / siblings / genie / grant / bump into someone / cheeky / skipping rope / ungentlemanly / fists / well-bred / shower someone with praise / outraged / sapper corporal / outfit / proportionally / do the dirty on someone / implacable / temper / vanish / catch up with someone / collar / haystack / reprimand / concession / perceive / choke on something / fair / passer-by / peanuts / chickpeas / hazelnuts / shooting galleries / merry-go-rounds / wax figures / hardly / wary / straw / crouch / crowd / tame / pence / shake on it / refrain / send someone into exile / profit / queue / put up with / trickery / owner / obstruct / sentinel.

This story is adequate to cover cultural differences (and preferences) regarding leisure, particularly, fairs, circuses and the like. It brings an opportunity to analyze and discuss the social values that underlie freak shows and animal rights and welfare in the context of their training for human amusement (the ethics, the limits). The cultural perspective on leisure mentioned above also leads to imagining (and designing) alternative and future types of entertainment.

Since this is not the first story of the series, students may not easily understand the magical power of a fictitious character that enables the transformation of one of the protagonists. Other than this initial point, the story covers familiar topics and is easy to follow.

Although the majority of the activities proposed have been designed to be undertaken in the classroom or in a group, they can be easily adapted to be done at home and in isolation.

The majority of the activities are designed to be worked in the classroom but they can also be prepared at home and later performed in the classroom.

There are several themes that arise in this story that could serve for a pre-task. A possible pre-task could be to have students search the web for famous films or stories that feature ogres, witches, giants, dwarves, etc. Other possible pre-tasks could be thinking/discussing about:
  • Physical size: are taller/stronger people respected more or taken more seriously than shorter/weaker people?
  • Bullies: do they usually pick on people that are smaller/weaker than themselves? What does this say about bullies and their courage?
  • How would you feel if you were taller than everyone? Would you feel powerful? special? lonely? a freak? How would you handle people staring at you all the time?

The story can be addressed from multiple perspectives. It covers the fields of leisure, shows, etc. It therefore enables the reader to reflect upon several ethical issues such as physical prejudices, “being different”, the physical and emotional needs of those who are different in some aspects from the rest of the group (in a way that is usually considered to be “inferior”), and coping with confrontation, to name a few. There are many stories of giants, ogres, and the like, e.g., “Puss in boots”, “Bluebeard”, and the more recent “Shrek”.


Roberto es objeto de abuso por parte del hijo del panadero. Desea, entonces, ser mayor que él, por lo que acaba creciendo notablemente en estatura. Convertido en un “fenómeno”, sus hermanos lo llevan a la feria para aprovecharse de su condición.

De igual modo que ocurre en otros cuentos de la Colección (como en “Los chicos guapos”), esta narración se perfila en base al trazo de una tensión entre el plano de los deseos y el de la realidad. Ambas perspectivas dialogan continuamente, teniendo a los niños como principales protagonistas, en tanto que resultan creadores y consumidores de los mundos y objetos que desean, así como responsables de tales vivencias y transformaciones. Por ello, priman los contenidos en valores y la potenciación de la inteligencia emocional. En este caso, se tratan asuntos relacionados con la perspectiva de género, con el bullying y con la discriminación hacia alguien que es considerado distinto a los demás. Desde un punto de vista literario, es interesante reseñar que este cuento se relaciona con otros de la Colección que, a su vez, tienen a los cinco hermanos como protagonistas: “Los chicos guapos”, “Las monedas de oro”, “¡Cuidado con el niño!”, “¡A volar todos!”, “En estado de sitio”, “¿El menor o el mayor?”, “En el sendero de la guerra” y “Las alhajas de la duquesa”.

Actividades de lectura crítica y emocional orientadas a tratar el bullying y los sentimientos relacionados con la discriminación hacia las personas que son consideradas diferentes a los demás. Actividades de escritura creativa. Actividades interactivas: figuras retóricas (elección múltiple). Actividades de escucha: Vals de las olas.

Definición de las siguientes expresiones, palabras o grafías: cabo de gastadores, almiar, dádiva, torraos, barraca, caló.

Text, intertextuality and context: Activity to scaffold reading comprehension and notes on intertextual and historical or cultural contextual information.
Creativity: Activity to enhance imagination and fantasy.
Collaboration: Activity to be undertaken totally or partially in a group.
Critical capacity: Activity to promote explicit learning through analysis and critical reasoning.
Oral comprehension: Activity for the acquisition of oral receptive skills.
Gamification and digital skills: Activity to promote gamified and technology-based learning through exercises and small interactive games with the computer.
Oral interpersonal communication: Activity to improve oral production and interaction.
Didactic guidelines for the English teacher: Table with a summary of the story and recommendations for the use of the tool in the classroom.
Audio: Listening of the enriched audio embedded in each page.
Comprensión lectora y contexto Explicación de información contextual, histórica o cultural, difícil para el lector actual.

Creatividad Propuestas para trabajar la imaginación, la fantasía y la sensibilidad a partir de la lectura.

Trabajo colaborativo y emocional Propuestas de actividades para desarrollar el trabajo en grupo y el conocimiento de las emociones.

Capacidad crítica e intertextualidad Anotaciones que promueven el pensamiento crítico y la profundización en el conocimiento de las estrategias literarias.

Actividades auditivas Anotaciones orientadas a desarrollar la recepción auditiva, utilizando la dimensión oral del lenguaje, los sonidos y la música.

Elementos interactivos (Puzles, galerías de imágenes, ejercicios, etc.) Anotaciones que han requerido algún tipo de programación especial orientadas a fomentar la lectura activa.

Audio Pista de audio del cuento por página.

What’s the name given to the process of sleeping through the winter in the animal kingdom? Why do some animals do that? How do they manage to survive? Do they wake up to eat and drink?

Talk to others about this and look for the answers to these questions if necessary.

Do you think that humans and snakes hibernate?


Una ciudad de libros

Comprensión lectora y contexto Explicación de información contextual, histórica o cultural, difícil para el lector actual.
Creatividad Propuestas para trabajar la creatividad a partir de la lectura.
Trabajo colaborativo y emocional Propuestas de actividades para desarrollar el trabajo en grupo y el conocimiento de las emociones.
Capacidad crítica e intertextualidad Anotaciones que promueven el pensamiento crítico y la profundización en el conocimiento de las estrategias literarias
Comprensión sonora Ejercicios que trabajan la comprensión auditiva (para la versión en inglés).
Elementos interactivos (Puzles, galerías de imágenes, ejercicios, etc.) Anotaciones que han requerido algún tipo de programación especial
Icono audio Se utiliza este icono para escuchar el audio incrustado por página en la versión en inglés y en la bilingüe.

El fenómeno

“El fenómeno” es una adaptación de la historia escrita por Edith Nesbit y titulada “Bigger than the Baker's Boy”, de su colección de cuentos Five Children and It (1905).

The English version of this book is a translation from Plaga de Dragones, a story collection which was published by Saturnino Calleja in 1923. This translation was undertaken collaboratively as part of a crowd translation project which took place at the Spanish distance learning university UNED in 2016, involving translation teachers and students. During the translation process, we tried to reach a balance between being faithful to the Spanish text and bringing it into the 21st century for the enjoyment and learning of modern readers. We feel that the stories are still relevant to you these days and trust that you will find the cultural contrast interesting.

The text has been enriched with a number of annotations including audio, term explanations, and various proposals for activities, which are mainly aimed at young non-native English speakers.

El fenómeno

Como ves, la versión española cambió el título original. ¿Por qué crees que lo hicieron?
De todas estas definiciones para la palabra “fenómeno”, imagina cuál o cuáles serán las utilizadas en este cuento. ¿De qué crees que tratará? Busca en el dibujo de la cabecera alguna pista.


A contagious illness that causes red spots on the skin and high temperature. Children have it more frequently than adults unless they are vaccinated.

Example: Tommy didn’t go to school when he had measles.


The seed of certain plants which are eaten as a vegetable in stews, soups, salads, or as a side dish.

Example: The smell of the bean stew was delicious.


A person who provides care for somebody else’s children as a paid service.

Example: The nanny told the children a story at bedtime.

Three Wise Men

According to the Christian tradition, the Three Wise Men, Kings or Magi were distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, guided by a star, bearing gifts. They are common figures in Christmas nativity sets, next to the Holy Family and the shepherds.

Example: The names of the Three Wise Men were Melchior, Gaspar and Balthassar.


A chest or piece of furniture for writing with drawers (boxes that slide in and out and are used to hold things). It can have a top that locks with a key and opens upwards.

Example: The old wooden bureau contained old secret documents.


A group of sheep, goats, or birds.

Example: Shepherds take care of their flock.


Why do you think that Rosie and Fabian’s mother doesn’t let them open the two drawers? Try and guess the reason!

We are sure that you know what a bureau is and what it is for. Can you name up to five things that you would typically find in the drawers of a bureau and five things that you would never ever find there?

The snake has been used as a symbol throughout history. For example, snakes create waves while moving and for this reason they have been a symbolic representation of energy in many cultures.

There are different kinds of snakes and each of them is symbolically used depending on where they live. For example, in India, snakes are related to the waters of the sea and are guardians of the springs of life. In Egypt, they are related to the dangers of the desert and symbolize the forces of destruction.

We are sure that you know what a bureau is and what it is for. Can you name up to five things that you would typically find in the drawers of a bureau and five things that you would never ever find there?

We are sure that you know what a bureau is and what it is for. Can you name up to five things that you would typically find in the drawers of a bureau and five things that you would never ever find there?

Is the word "sheep" here singular or plural? Can you think of any other similar words? Do you know how many different value coins and notes are used nowadays in Spain and the eurozone?


Robert and the baker's lad started a fight. After you read about the reason why the fight started, do you think Robert deserves the kicking?

Make up three arguments to express your opinion about this violent episode and share it with your group.

The most basic way to compare two people is using the structure “adjective + -er + than” or “more + adjective + than”. Compare two or three people in your group using this type of structure. Try not to offend anybody!

Robert probably knows some songs but he doesn't have enough confidence to sing them.

Now, imagine the owner wants to give Robert more money if he sings to the public. Working in pairs, first, the owner will try and be as persuasive as possible, while Robert will make up some excuse. Use expressions like: "If you sing a song, everyone will admire you"; "Think of how much money you will earn"; etc., and "I'm sorry but I don't feel like singing"; "I feel shy"; etc. After two or three attempts, Robert will give in and sing a little song for the visitors to the fair. Find a little English song that would be appropriate to sing in this context, learn it and sing it out loud!

Robert wants to escape from the freak show. Can you imagine why?

a. The spell that turned Robert into a giant is coming to an end.

b. Robert is not comfortable being exposed in the freak show.

c. Robert wants to go back home because the night is coming on.


The girls went home while the boys put the plan into practice. Why are the boys the only ones to take part in the plan? Do you think the girls could have contributed to the plan too?

Working in pairs, discuss your points of view. Do you think the decision about who participates in the plan and who doesn't would have been different if the story had taken place in the 21st

Robert thought about singing a waltz to please the fair owner... Do you know what a waltz is?

Waltz is the name for a music genre, created in Austria between the 16th and the 18th centuries. It is also the name for a kind of dance related to this genre. The waltz was played in ballroom parties and people danced it in couples, rather close to each other.

One of the most famous waltz composers was Frank Schubert (1797-1928), who had an uncommon musical gift and his works have a great value, even nowadays.

Do you dare dance the waltz with your partner? Go for it! You may organize a little contest for the best waltz dancing couple.

While working in the freak show, Robert had to put up with many things he didn't like.

Animals have to put up with the behaviour of people as well, and they are not always happy about it. Do you think animals should be forced to live outside their natural habitat, for example, in zoos, circuses, people's homes? Can you think of any exceptions? Write down a few rules or laws that should be applied to preserve animal rights and ensure their wellbeing.

The children were separated and now they are meeting on their way home. Do you know why they were separated?


Collect and share information about snakes. First, try to make an effort and focus on what you already know. Try to remember what they eat, how they reproduce, etc. Then, you can look for more data in your Natural Science' books or the Internet if you need to

Afterwards, try to organize the information you have found out about their life (what they eat, how they reproduce, etc.) and summarize it in a paragraph or in a few PowerPoint slides.

As we can read in the story, the fair offers different ways of entertainment. In some ways, modern fairs haven't changed so much since then.

Nowadays, for example, you still find food stalls but they sell hamburgers, pizzas and many different kinds of fast food. Usually, current fairs still have shooting galleries and merry-go-rounds but they also have roller coasters and other mechanical amusement rides that didn't exist at the beginning of the 20th century.

This old snake seems to be the king of the other snakes. Many kings in fantastic stories must have done great achievements to be worthy of their position. Can you imagine what this old snake has down to deserve the throne?

Write the story of the old snake's past. Include the place and circumstances of its birth, which obstacles and enemies it encountered and defeated, and its path to the throne.

Let's be careful with our prejudices. The snake in your story does not have to be wicked if you don't want to!

La riña

Fíjate cómo ha empezado la historia, rápidamente describiendo una escena de acción. Cuando un cuento empieza de esta manera decimos que lo hace in medias res (que en latín significa “hacia la mitad de las cosas”). Es un buen truco si quieres que tus lectores se enganchen rápido a tu historia.

Ilustración del cuento original de Nesbit por H. R. Millar.

Cabo de gastadores

Los gastadores eran soldados especialmente fuertes y resistentes que eran seleccionados para ir por delante de la tropa para "gastar" o destruir los obstáculos que pudieran impedir su avance. Si además era el cabo, que en la jerarquía militar está por encima de los soldados, es que tenía que ser todavía más fuerte y grande.


Un almiar es un montón grande de paja o heno, al aire libre, formado frecuentemente en torno a un palo vertical para conservarlo todo el año. Seguro que ves uno cuando pases de página.


Cosa que se da como regalo. En este caso se refiere a los deseos que el Enarenado les concede.

La feria

Escribe con un/a compañero/a un relato en el que seáis vosotros los que tengáis un característica que os hace muy diferentes. Describid bien cuál sería esa característica. Y luego pensad, si os llevaran a mostraros en una feria, ¿cómo os sentiríais?

Ilustración del cuento original de Nesbit por H. R. Millar.


Los torraos son garbanzos fritos con yeso, que se toman como aperitivo desde hace muchos siglos.


Aquí puedes ver que en este cuento la palabra “fenómeno” se utiliza para referirse a un “bicho raro”, fuera de lo común, que se expone en una feria. Podemos decir que utiliza la primera definición pero también un poco de la segunda, pues muchas veces lo que se sale de la normalidad nos puede parecer monstruoso. ¿Tú qué piensas?

Hablando de fenómenos, ¿conoces la historia del gigante español más famoso?

Este es el retrato de Joaquín Eleisegui, de Alzo (Provincia de Guipúzcoa) (1818-1861), al que llamaron el gigante español y que fue conocido por toda Europa.


El caló es la lengua utilizada por los gitanos principalmente en España. Seguro que conoces algunas palabras en caló, como por ejemplo “biruji”, “chaval”, “currar” y “camelar”.

Dejar en ayunas

“Dejar a alguien en ayunas” quiere decir dejar a alguien sin comer. Pero aquí significa otra cosa, y es que los niños han entendido solo a medias lo que les ha dicho el amo de la barraca, que hablaba medio en castellano medio en caló. Esta estrategia del escritor se llama:

1. Hipérbole

2. Simil

3. Metáfora



El vals de las olas

El vals de las olas, también llamado Sobre las olas, es un vals del compositor mexicano Juventino Rosas Cadena, estrenado en diciembre de 1888. Puedes escucharlo aquí.

Después pregunta a tu madre cuál es su música favorita y escúchala también.


Una barraca de feria es una caseta construida de manera sencilla y con materiales ligeros. En la foto puedes ver la barraca de una atracción de feria en Córdoba en el año 1932.

Las dos niñas

¿Por qué crees que dice que las niñas podían entorpecer la acción de los muchachos? Discute con tus compañeros o familia si estás de acuerdo con esta afirmación.

Recuerda también para el debate el comienzo del cuento. Fíjate si el narrador está tomando partido por los niños o por las niñas en este asunto:

“Mientras tanto Juana sujetaba a Cirilo, que quería ir en defensa de su hermano, y Antera, en el colmo de la bajeza, trató de halagar al chico del panadero llenándole de elogios para que soltase al pequeño. (…) Los dos niños estaban indignados con sus hermanas. Ellas habían contribuido a1 desastre.”

“porque no lo sé.”

¿Te gustan los finales abiertos? ¿Qué crees que hicieron los dueños de la barraca?

El narrador nos deja con la curiosidad, diciendo que no sabe lo que ocurrió porque quiere que los lectores sean activos y desarrollen su imaginación.

¿Te acuerdas del comienzo de otra novela muy famosa en la que el narrador empieza diciendo que no quiere acordarse: “… de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme”?

Una muchacha inteligente

¿Qué piensa en secreto Enrique de su hermana y qué le dice en voz alta? ¿Por qué crees que no es sincero?¿Alguna vez Eufemia le dice a Enrique algo parecido?

Iglesia de San Jorge

Esta frase nos dio otra pista para situar el origen de los cuentos en Inglaterra, pues en España no es habitual que en una ciudad haya muchas iglesias de San Jorge. En Madrid, solo hay una en la calle de Núñez de Balboa, que además es anglicana, mientras que en Londres encontrar la iglesia donde estuviera el santo era un verdadero dilema, ¡pues hay quince! (Hay que apuntar que San Jorge es un santo especialmente admirado en Inglaterra, siendo el patrono de la monarquía inglesa desde el siglo XIV).


Aquí, San Jorge se refiere a una expresión o frase que refleja su pensamiento, sus ideales personales. Para él, un hombre solo puede acabar con un dragón, no con varios. Así, su lema sirve como disculpa, ya que es incapaz de acabar con todos los dragones sin ayuda de nadie más.


La espita es un dispositivo que, como un grifo, permite regular la salida de líquidos de un recipiente. Antiguamente, se utilizaba en los barriles de madera o en las vasijas de barro, por ejemplo. En el cuarto de baño «mágico» del cuento su apertura o cierre regula el clima del país de los niños protagonistas. Nos parece interesante que en el cuento aparezca una especie de cuarto de baño en una cueva. Los cuartos de baño tal y como los conocemos ahora eran una gran novedad cuando Edith Nesbit compuso esta historia en 1899. El primer váter moderno lo inventó Thomas William Twyford, un fabricante de cerámica, en 1885. Durante esa época se perfeccionó el sistema de tuberías y alcantarillado de las ciudades y las casas empezaron a tener una habitación especialmente dedicada al aseo.

Morir de asfixia

¡Imagínate lo alto que ha subido el pastor! ¿Por qué cree que va a morir de asfixia? Respuesta

Haz clic aquí

“el Padre eterno escribió unas”

Finalmente, aparece Dios para salvar al pastor, ¿qué te parece este final? ¿Es el que esperabas? En realidad, lo de hacer aparecer a un Dios (u otro elemento externo a la trama y, generalmente, mágico) para que, de pronto, resuelva la situación, aunque no tenga mucho que ver con el resto de la historia, es un recurso que ya usaban los griegos en sus tragedias y que se llama "Deus ex machina". Sin embargo, no es una forma de resolver la trama muy recomendable, pues no guarda coherencia con el resto del argumento. ¿Se te ocurre una forma mejor de acabar este cuento? Escríbela.


Al final, todo había sido un sueño. ¿Conoces otras historias en las que todo se resuelva al despertar y no haya ocurrido de verdad? ¿Has leído Alicia en el país de las maravillas?

Ilustración de sir John Tenniel (1820-1914), para la novela original de Alicia en el País de las Maravillas (1865), de Lewis Carroll.


Los pueblos y ciudades no solo son gobernados por un alcalde o alcaldesa, sino que, en el Ayuntamiento, también trabajan otras personas, que son las que forman el Concejo. A estos empleados se les conoce como «concejales», y se especializan en diversas áreas de gobierno, por lo que existen concejales de cultura, de educación, de sanidad, de medio ambiente y muchos más.

El final del cuento

¿Te parece justo para Eufemia y Enrique el final del cuento? Piensa sobre por qué los adultos no agradecen a los niños su hazaña e imagina un final diferente para el cuento. Puedes poner por escrito ese final aquí.


¿Cómo eran los juguetes de tus padres y abuelos? Pregúntales si tuvieron algunos de estos.


Something that is made, sent out, or published.

Example: The man sold all his old issues of comics from when he was a child.

Working in pairs, talk with your partner about the last fair you went to and exchange the main memories you both have from that day.

Then, talk about the fair or theme park you would like to visit in the future.

Remember to use the adequate verb tense for each conversation topic.


Imagine you and your partners are members of the city Council during the plague of dragons in the story. Each one of you must choose a role from the following list and start a discussion:

  1. Mayor: S/he wants to eliminate he plague but without harming anybody and without destroying any buildings or property.
  2. Militar advisor: S/he wants to eliminate the plague no matter what to ensure that the main objective is reached.
  3. Scientific advisor: S/he doesn't want to eliminate the plague in order study the dragons and protect the people at the same time.

Rosie and Fabian use a six-sided puzzle to make a castle. Each side contains a beautiful picture. Go to the webpage of a famous museum and select six paintings that you like, each one corresponding to the following famous painters:

  1. Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 15th century)
  2. Peter Paul Rubens (German, 17th century)
  3. Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 17th century)
  4. Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 19th century)
  5. Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 20th century)
  6. Salvador Dali (Spanish, 20th century)


A weapon that consists of a knife attached to the front end of a rifle.

Example: Bayonets were used in close fighting long ago.


A heavy sword with one sharp curved edge.

Example: My grandfather has a sabre on the wall from the Mexican war.

In the story, the children were able to escape from the freak show without any problem. The narrator doesn't seem to know how the man and the woman from the sideshow reacted when they noticed that the giant was not there. Can you imagine how they reacted?

Write down a little script about the couple's reaction. Make the woman's different from the man's. Does it change the end of the story? How?

Now that you have read the whole story, try to guess the proper order of the following images and make them coincide with the flow of the events in the story.



Shepherds entertain themselves in many different ways. What do you think the shepherd in the story is doing in the picture below? Do you know who painted it?


Fire poker

A pointed metal bar for stirring up a fire.

Example: Our father used the fire poker when the grill was about to extinguish.


A plank; a flat, cut piece of wood.

Example: The child fixed small wheels to the board and then jumped on it.


Alquicel: Es una palabra que viene del árabe y se refiere a un tipo de vestidura a modo de capa, que normalmente era blanca y de lana.

Si quieres conocer qué otras palabras son de origen árabe, utiliza el diccionario e investiga: ¿Son de origen árabe estas palabras: “alcohol”, “almohada”, “aleta”, “alcázar”, “alcaldía”, “alhelí” y “altura”?


A grey metal which is very heavy.

Example: That shield is made of lead to protect the doctor against radiation.


The gathering of ripe crops or plants grown on a farm.

Example: Summer is the time of year when the farmers harvest their wheat.

Rebecca at the well

A story from the Bible which narrates how a woman called Rebecca was chosen to be Isaac’s wife by his father’s servant because she was by a particular well and said and did what he was expecting, which he interpreted to be a sign of God.

Daoiz and Velarde

Two Spanish captains who raised against French Napoleonic occupation and rule, and fought in a famous and decisive battle which took place in Madrid on May 2nd 1808.

By heart

Using the memory.

Example: The child learnt the song by heart for the festival.


A famous Spanish legal dictionary written by lawyer Marcelo Martínez Alcubilla in the 19th century.

Divine Comedy

A long narrative poem by 14th century Italian author Dante Alighieri. It is considered to be one of the greatest works of world literature.

In the story, Robert has an expression of anger and tears on his face. Do you know why?


Imagine that you are a giant and have the ability to eat ten times more than you can eat right now. Design a proper menu for yourself as a giant. Usually, a menu has one or two main courses, so your giant menu must have at least two starters, three main courses and two desserts... It must be a filling meal! If needed, you can check a recipe book to see different dishes.

This word is the female form of "shepherd". As you can see, it is the same word but with the sufix "-ess". You can find other examples of this use in words like "countess" and "heiress".

Also, there are other more common ways to refer to professionals who are women. For example, what do you call a woman who is a doctor?

A she-doctor


A female doctor




La ciudad en la biblioteca, en la ciudad en la biblioteca

Los escritores utilizan muchos trucos para hacer sus historias interesantes. En este caso, la autora hace que los juguetes y los espacios de juego que construyen los niños cobren vida y se hagan reales dentro de la historia. ¿Conoces otros cuentos en los que ocurra hacen algo parecido?

Aquí tienes un ejemplo muy famoso:

El soldadito de plomo

Ran out of

To use up the entire amount of something.

Example: It was such a hot day that we ran out of drinks.


Manuel Rivadeneyra (1805-1872) fue un editor e impresor español que desde 1846 trató de reunir las obras clásicas de la literatura española en una colección que se llamó la Biblioteca de Autores Españoles.

El ratón mecánico

Otro truco para hacer una buena historia es jugar con los narradores y el origen del cuento. Nuestro narrador ha escuchado la historia que acabamos de leer de uno de los personajes del cuento. ¿No es un poco raro? ¿Te fiarías tú de lo que cuente un ratón mecánico?

Inventa una historia con un narrador poco fiable ¡pero divertido!

The children of the story propose to take Robert to a fair and show him to the public for money. Have you ever been to a fair where humans were exhibited as if they were animals or another one where animals were shown as if they were humans? Nowadays neither of them are so familiar as they used to. Around the 1920s, when this book was written, it was rather common to show humans with odd features in fairs and circuses, in what were called "freak shows".

Freak shows became very popular in the 17th century. They showed people with deformities, highly trained animals, extravagant and unusual people and circus' sideshows. These kinds of shows were legal and popular until the 20th century, when their popularity started to decay. Many of the shows were eliminated and freak shows evolved into what we see today in circuses.


Make a list of places related to the different types of weather mentioned in this paragraph. For example, you can relate Egypt with the sun and England with the rain. Think of other examples from other continents too.

Before entering the cave, the shepherd wasn't alone. Do you remember who was with him?


What a messy situation! It looks like a bloody battle is about to start in the middle of Rosie and Fabian’s library! Luckily, the monkey and the mouse are sensible and have an idea to put a stop to all this nonsense.

How would the monkey or the mouse persuade them not to fight? Elaborate a small speech of reconciliation as one of them. First, write it down and then rehearse it orally.

All throughout this story there are two scenarios: a real one in Rosie and Fabian’s library and an imaginary one in a medieval city which is about to become a battlefield… which is inside the library! Where are the children right now: still in the battlefield or back in the library?


A long, loose, outer garment without sleeves that is used as a coat, to protect the wearer from the cold.

Example: The wizard had a purple cloak with stars on it.


North African Muslims.

Example: In the Middle Ages the Moors introduced many new scientific techniques to Spain and the rest of Europe.

Wheeled Board

A plank with wheels underneath. It can be a skateboard, which is a flat, short, narrow board that has four wheels on the bottom and is used for practising a sport.

Example: It is more fun to stand on your skateboard than to sit on it.


A famous Spanish editor who lived in the 19th century, who published many Spanish works and collections with high quality.

Many stories have doors that will be opened only after performing a spell o a specific task. Can you remember any other stories with a magical door?


As you may know, giants are very common in folk tales. The most famous one in the United States is Paul Bunyan.

He is an enormous lumberjack or woodcutter who travels through North America accompanied by a giant blue ox named Babe. While there are many different stories about Paul Bunyan, the oldest ones describe how Bunyan and Babe shaped different American landscapes. For example, one of the stories related to them says that Bunyan created the Grand Canyon by pulling his axe behind him.

Pay attention to how the woman said: "Goodness me!" when she saw the giant. The intonation of exclamations varies according to the speaker's emotion: surprise, anger, etc. Which emotion does the woman transmit? Look for some other fragments of speech in this story in which the speaker conveys an emotion and pay attention to their intonation.

During the story, we learn plenty of things about fairs. Would you like to organize your own fair? Let's plan it!

Working in groups, create your own fair. First of all, think of a particular type of fair and who it is aimed at, where it would be located, the amusement rides it would have, their distribution, etc. All your decisions must be justified. Also, and most importantly, you must choose a name for it!

Remember this is a group activity and you must collaborate with your partners and reach agreements about everything.

The children and the owner of the fair made a deal to show Robert in exchange for money. Do you think it is a favorable deal for the children?

Working in groups, make a role play where one of you is the fair owner and the others are the children, or other characters of your invention. Discuss the conditions of the deal and try to reach the best possible deal for you. You mustn't give up.

Working in groups, decide what Robert's attitude towards the baker's lad should be. Should Robert leave him alone? Should he teach him a lesson about not starting fights?.

Discuss it with your group. Then, keep reading to see what Robert did.

This is the end of the story. Rosie and Fabian are sick in bed. In their feverish sleep, they have a nightmare about being judged in court for having been disobedient and reckless. Distribute the roles at court among the members of your group:

  • The accused (Rosie and Fabian)
  • The witnesses (the Moors and the Spanish soldiers and chiefs)
  • The prosecutor (the monkey on the wheeled board)
  • The defendant (the mechanical mouse)
  • The magistrates (Rosie and Fabian’s parents)

Try to follow the main norms in a real court situation (respect to the magistrates’ indications, turn taking, etc.) and come out with a sentence.

Don’t forget to finish the role play by waking Rosie and Fabian up at the end!


An unusual or strange person, animal or thing.

Example: He was called a 'freak' at school and today he is a very happy and successful professional.


Brothers and/or sisters.

Example: We are a big family; I have five siblings: 2 brothers and 3 sisters.


A spirit with magical powers.

Example: When Aladdin rubbed the lamp, a genie appeared.

Granted (grant)

To agree to give something to someone.

Example: The teacher granted me permission to go to the bathroom.

Bumped into (bump into someone)

To meet someone by accident.

Example: I bumped into my old primary school teacher at the supermarket.


Rude, naughty.

Example: "Don't be cheeky!" My mom told me when she learnt I had talked back to the teacher in an impertinent way.

Skipping rope

A piece of cord used to jump over as a sporting activity.

Example: The children had a competition to see who could skip the longest without stepping on the rope.


Not like a gentleman; rude.

Example: It was very ungentlemanly of him not to give the pregnant lady his seat.


A closed hand.

Example: The boxer hit his opponent with his fist.


Well-educated, well-raised.

Example: She was too well-bred to get into a fight, so she gave a polite answer and walked away.

Showering him with praise (shower someone with praise)

To give someone a lot of praise; to tell someone all kinds of positive things about them.

Example: Her friends showered her with praise after she won the tennis match 6-0, 6-0.


Very angry.

The teacher was outraged when she realised that none of the children had done their homework.

Sapper corporal

The person who leads soldiers (called 'sappers') that build roads and bridges, and destroy enemy fortifications.

Example: The sapper corporal was in charge of coordinating the transportation of the supplies to the base.



Example: We went shopping for new outfits for our summer holidays.


Of comparable size.

Example: At dinner, mom serves our portions proportionally: my older brother gets the biggest portion, I get a smaller portion and my little sister gets the smallest portion.

Did the dirty on us (do the dirty on someone)

To cheat someone; to treat someone unfairly.

Example: During a card game, he did the dirty on us; we discovered he had taken 2 extra cards.


Impossible to convince; stubborn.

Example: We asked our teacher if we could take the test again but she said no; we asked again and again, but she was implacable.


Mood; emotional state.

Example: Our gym teacher always has a good temper, she never gets angry when we play around.

Vanished (to vanish)


Example: The magician made the handkerchief vanish during the trick.

Caught up with him (catch up with someone)

To reach somebody who is ahead of you.

Example: I was first in the race but then another runner caught up with me, and we crossed the finish line together.


A leather or plastic band that goes around the neck of an animal, often a dog.

Example: I always put a collar on my dog when I go for a walk in case it runs away.


A large pile of dry grass, legumes or other plants.

Example: In the farm we saw horses eating from a haystack.


A telling-off; speaking angrily to someone about what they did wrong.

Example: The mother gave her child a reprimand for breaking the expensive vase.


A privilege; something that is specially allowed.

Example: The teacher allowed us to leave 5 minutes earlier as a concession.


To see.

Example: The audience perceived in the speaker's tone of voice that he was sincere.

Choked on (choke on something)

To have trouble breathing because something is stuck in your throat.

Example: I ate too fast and choked on a piece of bread this morning; luckily a sip of water helped.


An amusement park where people can entertain themselves by playing games and taking rides on merry-go-rounds and rollercoasters.

Example: My favourite game at the town fair was the rubber duck race and my least favourite one the cherry spitting competition.

Passerby / Passer-by

Someone who goes by, especially walking; someone who goes past someone or something.

Example: Many passers-by stopped to listen to the street musician.


A little oval type of nut which is eaten roasted and salted as a snack or used to make oil.

Example: Peanut-loving elephants are a myth; they don't eat peanuts, especially in the wild.


A type of pea.

Example: Cocido madrileño is made with meat, vegetables and chickpeas.


A round brown hard-shelled edible nut.

Example: We stopped for a moment during the hike and had some water and hazelnuts.

Shooting galleries

A place at a fair where kids can shoot guns at objects to win a prize.

Example: We got two big toy elephants at the shooting gallery at the town fair.

Shooting galleries

A place at a fair where kids can shoot guns at objects to win a prize.

Example: We got two big toy elephants at the shooting gallery at the town fair.


A carousel; a round platform with toy horses that children can sit on while they go round and round, and up and down.

Example: Have you ever got dizzy on the merry-go-round?

Wax figures

Figures made out of wax (the same substance that candles are made from), typically of famous people.

Example: Have you ever been to the Wax Museum to see the wax figures of famous people?


Almost not.

Example: You've hardly eaten your fish! Look how much is still left!


Unsure; careful because you do not trust what is going to happen.

Example: When the teacher told the students that she had a surprise for them, they became wary in case it was a test.


Hay; the hard part of wheat or other grain plants.

Example: A haystack is made of straw.

Crouching (crouch)

To squat; to get close to the ground, by bending your legs.

Example: When we played hide-and-seek, we sometimes crouched behind those bushes.


A lot of people.

Example: There was a big crowd waiting to see the king and queen at the balcony of the palace.


Domesticated; changed from wild to docile.

Example: The circus in town has many tame animals: a lion, a tiger and two elephants.


Plural of the word “penny”. The penny is the British unit of currency (money) which is 1/100 of a pound.

Example: There are 100 pence in a pound.

Shake on it

An expression meaning that you shake hands to make an agreement official.

Example: We decided not to tell anybody and we shook on it.

Refrained (refrain)

To choose not to do something; to stop yourself from doing something.

Example: The teacher asked us to refrain from shouting the answer and to raise our hand first.

Sent him into exile (send someone into exile)

To banish someone; to send someone abroad as punishment, typically for political reasons.

Example: During the dictatorship, some artists were sent into exile because they opposed the government.


The money you make by selling something (after you deduce costs).

Example: The profits from the garage sale were donated to an NGO.


A waiting line; a line of people who are waiting for something.

Example: There was a long queue waiting for the bus.

Put up with


Example: During June, many children in Spain have to put up with hot classrooms so they are gradually installing air-conditioning.


Using tricks or dishonest methods to fool or convince people.

Example: Magic shows always involve trickery because magicians are not wizards.


A proprietor; a person who has or possesses something.

Example: The king and queen are the owners of the castle.


To interrupt, prevent, or interfere with something.

Example: There was a tree on the road which obstructed the traffic.


A guard; someone who protects someone or something; someone who prevents someone from escaping.

Example: There are two sentinels guarding the gate entrance to the royal palace.


Happy, content.

Example: He was pleased with his grades this term.