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The Baboon's Umbrella

To help children to consider listening to and thinking about advice.

by Jude Scrutton

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help children to consider listening to and thinking about advice.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a Narrator, a Gibbon and a Baboon for the short play.
  • Practise the script with the actors beforehand (one or two runs through should be sufficient).
  • You will need two umbrellas, one with holes in (or perhaps cut out black circles of paper and stick them on to one umbrella to represent holes).
  • Make a Baboon mask and a Gibbon mask, or apply face paint (optional).
  • Obtain pictures of different types of monkey and photocopy them onto OHP transparencies (optional).
  • See our resources section for more ideas about using drama in assemblies.


  1. Begin the assembly with a discussion about primates. Ask the children for examples, such as gorilla, baboon and gibbon. You could show pictures of these to demonstrate differences.

  2. Introduce the subject of fables and Aesop. If this is the first 'fable' assembly, you could say that Aesop was born as a Greek slave, but became a philosopher and taught people by telling them fables - stories with a message.

  3. Explain that the fable we are going to hear today is about a Baboon and a Gibbon. Introduce the characters and ask the children to think about the meaning of the story.

    The Script

    Narrator: One day a baboon was taking a walk through the jungle.

    (Baboon walks on with an open umbrella.)

    After a short while he bumped into his friend the Gibbon.

    (Gibbon enters and they walk into each other. Actors could try to walk like monkeys for humour.)

    Gibbon: My good friend. How strange to find you holding an umbrella over you on such a fine day. Don't you want to feel the heat from the beautiful sun?

    Baboon: Yes, I would love to, but I am most annoyed. My umbrella is stuck and I would not think of walking around without it in case it rains. I would love to feel the sun on me. It's a bit of a problem isn't it?

    Gibbon: There's a simple answer. You need to cut some holes in your umbrella. Then the sun will shine on you.

    Baboon: What a great idea.

    (Baboon exits.)

    Narrator: And without more ado, the Baboon ran home and used a big pair of scissors to cut some holes in his umbrella. When he returned...

    (Baboon returns with holes in umbrella.)

    Baboon: At last I can feel the beautiful warmth of the sun. How delightful.

    Narrator (to the audience - actors freeze): Can you guess what happened next? There were a few drops of rain, and then it began to pour. Within a few minutes the poor Baboon was soaked to the bone.

    (Actors run off as if fleeing heavy rain.)

  4. Ask the children for their ideas about the meaning of the story. Work round to the idea that advice from friends is like the weather - sometimes good, sometimes bad. Discuss times when children have listened to advice. How did it turn out? Discuss their need to listen to advice and to think about whether they should follow it or not.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Help me to think about all advice.
Help me to learn from my mistakes and to move forward from them.


'There's a new day' (Come and Praise Beginning, 13)

Publication date: July 2003   (Vol.5 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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