Last week we learned about Jill Tomlinson, author of ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark’.

We did a project about

the author Jill Tomlinson

with Ms. O’C last week.


We thought you might like to read

about what we found out:


The Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up

The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure

The Gorilla Who Wanted To Grow Up

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

The Penguin Who Wanted To Find Out

The Otter Who Wanted To Know

The Cat Who Wanted To Go Home


These books were all written by this author.

The ones we have read, we have highlighted in blue.

little hoot
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: **tWo pInK pOSsuMs** via Compfight
We loved ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark’

but our favourite was ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’.


In all of them the animals are on a journey,

growing up,

learning things

and making discoveries.


However Jill Tomlinson became an author

who could not




Read on and you will find out why.


We learned that Jill Tomlinson was born in 1931.

She could sing and so she trained as an opera singer.
She didn’t  plan to be a writer.

Then she took some time out to have a family.

But then she became ill which made her weak.

She did a course in journalism.

Very quickly found out

what she really wanted to do with her life;

Lucky for us, she found

she wanted to write for children.


The next part of her story is a good example of

if you don’t first succeed try and try again.

She wrote her very first story,

a picture book called

‘The Bus who went to Church’.

The first publisher she sent it to

didn’t want to publish it.

She sent it to fifteen more, before

luckily for children everywhere

it was accepted for publication.


Jill Tomlinson wrote a number of

other simple picture books.

Then she felt ready for

more of  a challenge

so she wrote the book now known as

Happy Easter!
Photo Credit: Caroline via Compfight

‘The Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up’.

This was followed by’ The Cat Who Wanted to Go Home’.

Cat's Meow (painting) Cat (poem after Carl Sandburg's
Photo Credit: Faith Goble via Compfight 

Her illness made it more and more difficult for her to work.

By now it had been diagnosed as MS.

MS (Multiple Schlerosis can make it hard to walk or talk)

The next book she wrote was

‘ The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’.

This is her most successful and well known book.


As time went on, her illness made working more and more difficult.

Again she persevered.  She didn’t give up.

The details for each of her books was carefully researched .

This was done by her family in response to the questions she asked.


She used say that, as an author she was one of a kind

because she was one who was not able to read or write.

Making Connections: Data & English: Our Favourite Class Novels

This week we have been talking about the class novels we have read:


Jill Tomlinson’s

‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

and Jenny Nimmo’s

‘The Owl Tree’

and ‘The Stone Mouse’


We talked about the ones we preferred

and why we preferred them better.


First we collected data from the class

to see which book by Jill Tomlinson

2nd Class Room 6 preferred:

‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

or ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’?



Then we made a bar graph.

Some children were absent

and Teacher got to vote as well.

You can see from the graph that

‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

was our favourite book, by a score of 16 to 12.


Then we collected data to see which

class novel about owls, the class preferred:

Jill Tomlinson’s ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

or Jenny Nimmo’s ‘Owl Tree’?


We made a bar graph to show the results.

‘The Owl Tree’ was the winner there.

Once again the score was 16 to 12.


The next day we took a vote,

to collect data for this bar graph

to find out which story by Jenny Nimmo

the class preferred:

‘The Owl Tree’ or

‘The Stone Mouse’?


Teacher got to vote again and

there were less children absent,

so there were 30 in our survey.

‘The Stone Mouse’ was the winner here

by a very close score of 16 to 14.



Niamh said ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark’

was a very funny book that made her ‘laugh out loud’.

So why did the students in 2nd Class Room 6

prefer ‘The Aardvark who wasn’t sure’?


The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’

The children said this was a funny book too

and that they learned lots of new things

about animals who live in the African ‘veldt’.


‘The Owl Tree’

‘The Owl Tree’ was the book children preferred

of the two about owls. 2nd Class Room 6 felt it was

an unusual and serious book and that it was more grown up.


They liked the way Jenny Nimmo

worked a little bit of magic into every day life.


Cian said it gave him ‘mixed feelings’ because predicting

what was going to happen to the tree worried him.


John Paul said he liked the description of the food

that Granny Diamond brought out to her ‘trick or treat’ visitors.


Isabella said that it was interesting

to try and imagine what Mr. Rock looked like.


Fiona said that it was a good book to help

some one understand a disability or someone who looked different.


However good ‘The Owl Tree’ was the children thought that

‘The Stone Mouse’ was even better.


‘The Stone Mouse’

There were so many problems for Ellie

and ‘The Stone Mouse’ to overcome.


Isabella said she was interested

in finding out why Ted did what he did.


Alice was fascinated by the connection

between Ellie and ‘The Stone Mouse’,

where they both seemed to be worrying

at the same time.


Alice thought that it was interesting

that Ted is the short for Teddy

and that usually Teddies are soft and cuddly

but that Ted in the story was not.


Our next class novel is ‘The Dog Star’ by Jenny Nimmo.

Teacher says that there is magic and a mystery in it

and we are looking forward to it.




Making Connections: Jill Tomlinson’s ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark’ and ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’.

We read ‘The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark’

and ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’.

Both of these books are written by

the great children’s author

Jill Tomlinson.


We talked about how these stories,

making connections

between the two stories.

We asked ourselves:

How are these books the same

and how they are different?


Julia is going to begin

by introducing both books

and talking about

how they are the same.

This is how the stories are the same:

The main characters

are both young animals

that live with their parent(s).


The Owl lives with his Mum and Dad

and the Aardvark lives with his Mum.

They are loved and well minded

by the grown ups in their lives.


They are both nocturnal.

They both have to look out for ‘danger’.

They are both very inquisitive

especially about food.


Both stories follow a pattern.

The same kind of thing happens

in every chapter


and over again.


They meet another character

and talk to them,

asking them questions

and finding things out.


But this is not tedious

because each of these 

characters are different

and interesting.


Also there are differences

in the pattern each time.

Different things get said.

Funny things get said.

Avatar Kila will tell you a little about

how the stories are different

The stories are different because

one story is about an aardvark

and the other is an owl.


The owl is a carnivore and the

aardvark is an insectivore.

The aardvark and his Mum

are nomads. The owl family

stay put.


Plop the Owl wants to be a day bird.

As the title of the book says,

he is afraid of the dark

and doesn’t want to go hunting

with his Mum or Dad.

This is the problem

that has to be solved

in his story


Pim the Aardvark is different

He is looking forward

to going hunting at night

with his Mum.


His ‘problem’ is that he is

a brand new, baby aardvark

and he doesn’t know anything.

He isn’t sure at all about

the life of an aardvark

or the world around him.


Luckily both stories are the same

in that they both have happy ending.


To finish:

In the chapter called ‘The Rotten Digger’

in the ‘The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure’,

Pim tries his hands

(or should that be his claws) at digging.

Here is a video of an aardvark digging 

from, a website of animal videos.

If you would like to comment click on ‘Continue Reading’ below

and a comment box will appear.

Podcast: What did you like about ‘The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark’?

We have just finished our class novel

‘The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark’

by Jill Tomlinson.

The children in 2nd Class, Room 6

enjoyed the humour

and appreciated

that the story followed a pattern.

But let them tell you about it.

Isabella is today’s interviewer.

As part of the work we are doing on owls,

the boys and girls enjoyed watching barn owls on this link today.

Perhaps they might like to check it out again at home.

Click on this link for a video of a barn owl in flight from a nature website called

Click on ‘Continue Reading’ below to comment.

The Stories of Jill Tomlinson: Similarities and Differences.

Books by Jill Tomlinson

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

The Cat Who Wanted To Go Home

The Aardvark Who Wasn’t Sure

The Otter Who Wanted To Know

Penguin’s Progress

How are these books the same?

They all have a main character, who is a young animal.

They are all asking questions

of their grown ups

and their friends

and they are all learning.

They all have adventures.

They have a beginning

a middle,

and an end

and they all have a happy ending. 

How are they different?

They are different because the main character is a different bird or mammal.

Some are nocturnal and some are diurnal.

Some of the questions they ask are the same,

but some are different.

They come from different habitats all over the world.

They have to watch out for different predators.

Their diet is different.