SPaRK – Did You Take the B from My _ook?

By Kelly Hodkinson – Head Teacher English at Erskine Park High School.

SPaRK overview

A using quality literature Shared Practice and Resource Kit (SPaRK) for English Early Stage 1, Kindergarten.

Resource: Did You Take the B from My _ook? by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton, ABC Books, NSW, 2016.

Learning and teaching activities in this springboard are centred on outcomes and content from the NSW English K-10 Syllabus and the English Textual Concepts resource.

What is it about?

‘Did You Take the B from My _ook?’ is an original story based on the narrator losing the letter B after a sneeze. The narrator repeatedly tries to say words beginning with the letter B but cannot make the sound, causing all the words to sound funny. Children are invited into the story through frequent questioning and beautiful clear images which support their imagination and understanding of the meaning of words like ‘_ull’, and ‘_eetle’ in the story. This is Beck and Matt Stanton’s second book in their series ‘Books that drive kids CRAZY!’ and adopts a similar style and feel to ‘This is a Ball’. Children will once again yell out responses and corrections as you read the book and they lose themselves in the silliness of this story.

Why is this important? Why does it matter?

The simple premise of the letter B being lost during a sneeze makes it a perfect story to accompany the learning of letters and sounds. Many spelling, reading and writing activities could be based on this text and students can learn about these Codes and Conventions. The book offers the opportunity to explore the concept of Connotation, Imagery and Symbol through the use of the underlined space ( _ ) and the imagination to create humour. Students are supported to see that the _ symbolises the missing letter by the pairing of the images on each page. This further adds humour to the story as students clearly know what the words should sound like, even if they do not know how to spell or read them yet. You could ask students to look for other ways of using black lines to symbolise things, such as the underlining of words like ‘whole world’ to show importance and to prompt emphasis when reading aloud. Black lines are also used to indicate movement in some of the images, such as when the large letter B is running away or when the ‘_eetle’ is jumping on the ‘_ed’. Students will identify the characters in the story as the beetle, the bull, the butterfly and maybe even the letter B itself due to the visuals. We can extend this understanding by introducing the concept of Point of View with discussion about the creation of characters in stories through the voice of the story coming from the narrator and how the students become part of the story, through their answers to the many questions.

Pages from 'Did You Take the B from My _ook?' showing a beetle and bulls bouncing on a bed

How do I use the text to teach the textual concepts of Connotation, Imagery and Symbol, Point of View, and Code and Convention?

Book discussion linked to understanding Point of View and Connotation, Imagery and Symbol

After an initial reading of the picture book with students, discuss what happened in the story and why they thought it was funny. Talk about the sound of the words with the letter B missing and how we realise more and more words start with that letter. Repeat some of the funny lines and ask students to try saying them. For example, ‘Here’s a pair of _lue _oots’. Talk to students about using our imagination when we read and write stories. Do we really believe we could sneeze and lose a letter? Now ask students who they think are the characters in this book. Look through the images in the book to see if they can find a character. You will only be able to find images linked to the missing letter B from the words. Point out to students that the images help us understand the story and the words with the missing B but they do not show us the main character. Explain to the students that you as the teacher/narrator take on the role of the main character and the students are also characters in this book as they engage in the story. The questions at the end of the page are asked to them: ‘Am I saying it wrong?’ ‘Is it there when you say it?’ This makes us feel a part of the story. Ask students to imagine that they have lost the first letter of their name and ask them to introduce themselves to the person beside them. ‘Hi, my name is _elly.’ Who has the funniest sounding name in the class with the first letter missing? What do they think would be the worst letter to lose (understanding and engaging personally)?


  • discuss creative language features in imaginative texts that can enhance enjoyment, e.g. illustrations, repetition


  • identify some features of texts including events and characters and retell events from a text (ACELT1578)


  • engage with and appreciate the imaginative use of language through storytelling

Code and Convention linked to Connotation, Imagery and Symbol activity

Ask students to look at the pages of the book and identify the symbol used to indicate that a letter is missing. Throughout the book, an underlined space ( _ ) is used to identify where the B should be in a word. The picture helps us know what the word should be although we say it differently. Provide students with a list of the words in the book which are missing the letter B. Students are asked to say the words without the letter and then write in the letter B, say the word aloud and draw a picture to go with it.

Table showing words beginning with B and spaces for students to draw pictures of these objects

Repeat this activity with another letter that you have been learning about in class or brainstorm a list of words with students that all start with a certain letter, write them on the board, have students come and draw a matching image, then erase the initial sound and have students try to say the new words together. Create a quiz for students with 3 images of things that start with the same letter and ask students to work out what letter has gone missing (understanding).

Sample quiz cards:

Quiz cards showing pictures of a cat, car and card
Quiz cards showing pictures of a dog, doughnut and duck


  • understand that spoken words are made up of sounds


  • consistently identify words that start with the same initial sound


  • identify the beginning and end sounds of words


  • segment simple spoken words into separate sounds


  • identify the new word when asked to delete or add a phoneme (sound) to an existing spoken word


  • identify some familiar written symbols in context, e.g. logos, computer icons and commands, labels of packages, signs

Point of view creative activity

Tell students we are going to write our own book about a new letter going missing. Decide on the new letter with the students or base it on your current program and brainstorm all the things they can think of that start with that letter. Look at the features of each page with the students. Point out that the left side of the page has the written text and the right side of the page has the image. Remind students to leave a _ for the missing letter when they are writing their part of the story and that the sentence sounds like someone is speaking to us. They can be asked to write the big sentence only, or multiple sentences, depending on student ability. Start by asking students to fold an A4 piece of paper down the middle to make the two-page spread of the book. Students then choose one of the words and create their page, with a sentence on the left and a picture on the right. When students have completed their page, they need to read it to the teacher or another adult support person and explain what they have written and why. Collate the pages into a story book format and add in the initial story line and ending to make it similar in format to ?Did You Take the B from My _ook??Read the book with the class and share it electronically or on a borrowing basis for students to share with their families and other kindergarten classes (connecting, experimenting and reflecting).

Annotated double page spread from the book, showing a simple line drawing of a bed
Image: Sample text explanation for students


  • use imagination to represent aspects of an experience using written text, drawings and other visual media


  • compose texts on familiar topics using pictures and graphics to support their choice of words


  • reread own texts with peers and known adults and explain the purpose for the writing

Related texts

This is a Ball by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton


Did You Take the B from My _ook?’ teaching notes, Harper Collins

How to cite this article - Hodkinson, K. 2017, 'SPaRK – Did You Take the B from My _ook? by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton', Scan 36(1).

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