The Suitcase

The Suitcase

The Suitcase
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788004480

When a strange-looking animal arrives pulling a big suitcase, the other animals are curious. What on earth could be inside that suitcase? A teacup? Maybe. A table and chair? Perhaps. A whole home and hillside with trees? This stranger must be fibbing! But when the animals break into the suitcase and discover a very special photograph, they begin to understand what the strange creature has been through, and together they create a very special welcome present . . .

Librarian's Book choice

When a strange-looking creature arrives one day, carrying a large suitcase, the other animals are naturally curious. When they ask about the suitcase and its contents, they are puzzled by the stranger's answers and after he falls asleep, they break into the case. What they find there causes them to question their actions and seek to make the stranger welcome.

This is a beautiful picture book about empathy and compassion which challenges us to think about how we respond to others. The Suitcase is perfectly pitched to encourage discussions with even the youngest children about the importance of welcoming others with friendship and care rather than hostility and suspicion. Although a poignant story about a refugee which is sadly so relevant to our times, The Suitcase could be related to welcoming a new child to class, encouraging empathy and understanding in familiar situations as well.

The contents of the stranger's case and the animals' reaction to them also offers the possibility for discussion and reflection. Should the animals have intruded into the stranger's personal belongings? Why did these items hold such significance for him? Why does he have so few possessions with him? What might your suitcase contain?

Throughout the story, the new arrival is referred to as the 'stranger', an emotive word which can have very negative connotations. Are all 'strange' things a threat? Perhaps we should consider the Greek's use of the word 'xenos' which gives us 'xenophobia'- a fear of strangers. Yet, this word can also be used for an ally, friend or guest. Why must all 'strange' things be treated with suspicion?

A wonderful book, The Suitcase is a simple story with a profound and moving message for us all.

Picture book / Any age / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher


The Suitcase4/5

The Suitcase

Chris Naylor-Ballesteros


This story is all about making new friends and deciding whether to believe tales that people tell you.

As a strange animal approaches a group of friends, he tells them all about the magical things he has in his suitcase. The other animals find it tricky to decide whether he is telling the truth or not so when he is sleeping, one of the animals decides to open his suitcase and see for themselves! The animals are shocked at what they find but they decide that instead of getting cross at the animal for telling tall tales, they will help to make his dreams become a reality. Luckily, instead of being cross that the animals had doubted him in the first place, the animal decides he may have some new friends after all.

This is a nice story with some interesting opportunities for several moral discussions - trusting people, making new friends and dealing with difficulties with others.

Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Reviewed by: Lucy Newton