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Kids' Activities



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Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

Heads or Tails

Written and illustrated by J.O. Pennanen

Theme: Conflict Resolution, Ages 5 to 8

Heads or Tails

This humourous-verse fable, which could be called "the tail that wagged the lion," is a lesson in resolving disagreements. But the lesson does not overpower the humour and imagination in the story.

Leon's tail startles him one day when it talks to him, and the tail explains that little by little, it saved up the small parts of brain that Leon used to give instructions. The tail, fed up with being dragged through the mud, sat on and used as a fly swatter, pointed out that it was lighter than Leon, and from here on it would be on the top and would make the decisions.

Leon, feeling ill from this strange set of circumstances, decided to go to the river for a drink, but his tail objected, and a series of fights ensued over which brain would make the decisions.

Finally, Leon decided to have a talk with his tail, and they agreed to have a 50-50 partnership and if by talking things out they could not agree, they'd flip a coin. "You can be heads, I'll be tails," concluded Leon.

Though the lion is not a creature of the North, the solution of compromise between Leon and his tail is certainly characteristic of Canadian behaviour, and perhaps could have been written only by a Canadian. Young children have not lived long enough to have discovered this about their country, so perhaps this will be their first lesson in Canadian politics.


1. What started the disagreement between Leon and his tail?

2. How did they manage to stop fighting?

3. What would have happened if they had not solved their problem?

4. What kinds of fights have you had and how did you work things out?

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

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