Miss Bettina's House

Miss Bettina's House

Level: Primary| General

Series Title: Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series (SPPS)

Subject: Literature

ISBN: 978 976 638 069 4

Pages: 56

Age Group: 8 - 10 years

Published: 2004

The series will target two age levels: 8-10 and 10-12 years. It is aimed firstly, at developing and sustaining the reading habit by providing children with relevant, contextually familiar, quality publications which will excite their interest, stimulate their imaginations, broaden their experiences and increase their awareness of their own culture as well as the other cultures of the Caribbean region.

All the stories have interesting and thought-provoking plots, some of which relate to topics, skills and concerns in the curriculum. The series will also aid composition and vocabulary development by providing good models of storytelling.

Miss Bettina's House

Miss Bettina's animals have been abandoned. Left alone, they have her house on her little farm, but no one to take care of them. Dog makes a clever plan: Ernest, a homeless boy, must agree to live in their house and look after them. But Curry Dan, the village rascal, sees his big chance to capture Miss Bettina's house, all for himself. First, though, he must get rid of these troublesome animals. Then comes the animals hilarious scheme to frighten Curry Dan away from Miss Bettina's house. Will the plan succeed?


Hazel D. Campbell
has written and edited stories for children and has produced children's programmes for radio and television. She teaches story writing for children at the UWI. She is the recipient of the 1997 Vic Reid Award for Children's Literature. She is also the series editor for Carlong's Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series for children.

Notes To Teachers:


  1. What kind of story is Miss Bettina's House? Supernatural? Fantasy? Adventure? Science Fiction? Which did you choose and why? What are the characteristics of the other kinds of stories?
  2. Was Dog the best animal to take charge of Miss Bettina?s house Give reasons for your answer.
  3. What are the physical characteristics of albinos? Should people shun or tease them?
  4. In the illustration on page 13, Ernest is surrounded by other children. Give each child a name. From the expression on their faces and their gestures, what do you think each child is saying to Ernest? What does this tell you about their attitudes to Ernest? Do you agree with these attitudes What is Ernest feeling?
  5. Ernest?s favourite story was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Give the name and author of your favourite book.
  6. Ernest could talk to the animals. How do you think you would react if you could understand what animals say Which animal would you choose to talk to? Give reasons for your choice. How do the animals you know communicate?
  7. What is the word used for persons like Curry Dan who are afraid of ghosts and other supernatural creatures?
  8. Pretend you are the animals and Ernest at a meeting to make the final plans to get rid of Curry Dan. In groups make up this scene and act it out. (Chapters 11 and 12 have the details of what happened).
  9. Little Bird says that you can catch a bird by throwing salt on its tail.What other superstition about birds is mentioned in this story? Talk with older persons. Ask them about any other superstitions or proverbs about birds. Record these and share with your class.
  10. Look up the word "lament" in your dictionary. In Chapter One, the animals lament the fact that Miss Bettina has gone and left them all alone to fend for themselves. Write a poem of two verses, four lines in each verse which captures this lament. End each verse with the line - And Patoo asked: "A-Whoo, A-Whoo"
  11. Miss Bettina's House has a cellar in which Ernest hides, from time to time. Find out about houses with cellars and describe how you think the cellar in Miss Bettina?s house would look.
  12. Write a book report on Miss Bettina?s House. Be sure to say what you liked or disliked about the story. Give reasons for your opinions.


I like this book because it is funny. I like Dog the best of the animals because he is smart. I didn’t like Curry Dan when he tried to poison the meat to kill Dog. On page 13 the picture shows some children teasing Ernest because he is an albino. I think the children are mean. I am glad Miss Bettina came back. Shannon age 9 years