February 19 – International Tug-of-War Day

Happy Tug-of-War Day!

These two stories are very similar in concept and plot. In the first one the two large animals were angry at being tricked by the Hare. In the second story the two larger animals realized their folly and laughed with Brer Rabbit when he tricked them.

Read them both and talk about the similarities and differences with your child.


Tug Of War written and illustrated by John Burningham (2012)

Hare, Elephant, and Hippo all lived together in the forest. Elephant and Hippo teased Hare for being small and weak. One day Hare tricked them both by challenging them to a tug of war. Neither one knew that Hare had challenged the other and each one thought they were tugging against Hare when they were actually tugging against each other. After a full day and a night and another day of tugging they finally got close enough to each other to realize they had been duped. Elephant and Hippo were furious and searched all over for Hare. But Hare had been long gone and they never found him.

contentBrer Rabbit: The Great Tug-o-War written by John Agard and illustrated by Korky Paul (1998)

 Brer Rabbit was not very strong, but he was very clever. Rhino and Hippo were both very strong, and they both liked to brag about their muscles. One day Brer Rabbit challenged them both to a tug-o-war. Each one thought he was going to tug against Brer Rabbit, but Brer Rabbit actually planned to play a trick on both of them at the same time. The next day, Brer Rabbit tied a long rope around his waist and climbed over the hill to Hippo on one side of the island and gave him the other end of the rope. Then he climbed back over the hill and gave the other end of the rope to Rhino. Brer Rabbit climbed back up to the top of the hill and tugged on the rope so that both Hippo and Rhino thought that Brer Rabbit was ready for the tug-o-war. Hippo and Rhino pulled and tugged at the rope with all their might. Neither one could believe that Brer Rabbit was as strong as seemed. They continued to pull and tug until finally the rope broke and both Rhino and Hippo fell into the water. Brer Rabbit and his friends the monkeys and birds all had a good laugh at Hippo and Rhino. Hippo and Rhino realized that Brer Rabbit had tricked them, and they laughed  at themselves as well.

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