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Slinky Malinki

There are many things that can trip us up!

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the hidden things that can trip us up.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a copy of Slinky Malinki by Lynley Dodd (Puffin, 1992) from the Hairy Maclary and Friends series of stories.
  • You will also need a tangled ball of wool or string and a list of all the 23 items that are stolen in the story. This is so you can tick them off the list as the children remember them.


  1. Ask the children the following questions.

    - Does anyone have a cat at home?
    - What is your cat called?
    - What does it like doing?
    - How would you describe your cat?

    Listen to a range of their answers to each question.
  2. Read the story Slinky Malinki.
  3. Afterwards, ask the childrent the following questions.

    - What were the nice things that this cat did?
    - What were the naughty things that this cat did?

  4. Tell the children that you have made a list of all the 23 items that the cat stole. Explain that you want to see how many of them they can remember. Ask the children to name the items one at a time and cross them off your list as they do so. If the children cannot remember some of the items, you may like to give them some clues to help their recall.
  5. Ask, 'Why do you think Slinky Malinki stole at night-time?'

    Listen to some of the children's suggestions, then s
    uggest that Slinky Malinki thought darkness could hide things. When Slinky Malinki got in a real mess, however, a real tangle, he tripped up and out it all came. He was found out!
  6. Suggest that sometimes we are all a bit like Slinky Malinki. There are many good things about each of us here, but there are also some things that we wouldn’t want others to know about us. We tend to want to keep the bad things hidden. It may be that we have stolen things - maybe a pencil on loan from a friend  we decided to keep hidden in our pencil cases or maybe we've hidden a biscuit taken from the kitchen even when Mum said ‘No’ when we asked for one!

    There may also be other things that only we know about and don’t want others to find out. Perhaps we have been telling lies, perhaps we have been cheating or perhaps we have been spreading hurtful rumours about someone else.

    Often, things like this have a habit of being discovered, just like Slinky Malinki’s stealing. Slinky felt awful when this happened.
  7. Finally, ask the question, 'What do you think it means to be "deep in disgrace"?' Listen to some of the children's answers.

    Slinky Malinki felt so bad about his stealing that the story says he didn’t go out at night any more. That was his way of making sure he didn’t steal ever again. The Bible tells us that, often, the things we do wrong get found out. It also speaks a lot about the importance of forgiveness.

Time for reflection

Slinky Malinki hopes that his story might help us to think about the hidden things in our lives.

Show the tangled ball of wool or string.

Is there something we have hidden from others that has us all knotted up and tangled inside, something that trips us up at times?

Let’s decide that we are not going to live in darkness any more.
Dear God, 
Thank you that you love us very much, even when we mess up. 
You know all about us and you want us to live in the light. 
Please forgive us when we get things wrong.
Like Slinky Malinki, please help us to choose to do the right things and live in the light.

Publication date: March 2016   (Vol.18 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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