Claire Freedman’s picture book story, “Tappity – Tap What Was That?” is a charming story about friendship and facing your fears. On a dark and stormy night, owl, mouse and a rabbit hear a knock at the door and fear the worst – The monster of the woods. As the story progresses, we witness them as they support each other in facing their fears: from owl’s plan just in case they should encounter the monster, to curling up together in front of the fire with a cup of hot cocoa to finally finding the courage to peep through the peephole to see who is at the door.
This is a beautiful book to share with young children. It would generate a great deal of discussion around the subject of fear: the kind of things that children fear, who they turn to when they are afraid and the sorts of things that make them feel better. Owl, who is the largest of the animals in the story, takes on the traditional role of being wise old owl and as such the parental figure that the smaller animals turn to. This makes the text ideal to discuss characterization. What are owl’s qualities that make other burn to him for comforts? What evidence is there in the story to support the children’s views?