Review + Teachers’ Notes: ‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A Musical Show’

Home » Review + Teachers’ Notes: ‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A Musical Show’

Title: Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A Musical Show
Author: Zanni Louise
Illustrator: Gillian Flint
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Age Range: early childhood; lower primary; independent readers
Themes: music, painting, art, The Arts, imagination, creativity, friendship, feelings, nerves, resilience.

Author Zanni Louise adds a touch of whimsy to all her writing and her ‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush’ series is no exception. Tiggy is a plucky little protagonist who has a huge imagination and some equally large feelings! Her magic paintbrush helps her to paint her way out of some tricky situations, but really the magic is inside Tiggy herself – just like it is inside us all. The Tiggy books are perfect for early independent readers who like the support of illustrations and enjoy a storyline that is engaging but not overly complex, in order that they can experience success with their first forays into reading. The series would also be a great read aloud for little people who are ready to listen to a longer narrative.  I have been following the work of Zanni Louise for some time now and have her picture book ‘Too Busy Sleeping’ on my list of top books for preparing for a sibling, and ‘Errol’ on my ‘Best Books for Toddlers’ list. You can find all books by Zanni Louise here.

Below Zanni introduces the ‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush’ series.

Click on title links or cover image to purchase.

‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A Musical Show’

Follow it Up in the Home, Classroom or Library

Teachers’ Notes prepared by teacher Melissa Kroeger for Children’s Books Daily in context with the Australian Curriculum.

Title: Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush: A Musical Show
Author: Zanni Louise      Illustrator: Gillian Flint

Today is the Fruit Salad Performance at Tiggy’s school, and Tiggy is the star of the show! But when nerves creep in, Tiggy’s voice gets croaky. Oh no! Lucky Tiggy has her magic paintbrush with her – but can it help her find the right voice to save the show? 


  • English
  • Visual Arts
  • Drama
  • Health and Physical Education


  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Personal and Social Capability



  1. Read the title and show the front cover. Ask the following questions:
  • Can you spot Tiggy?
  • Can you see her paintbrush?
  • What do you think Tiggy is doing?
  • What do you think Tiggy is dressed up as?
  • What is a musical show?
  • What do you think the musical show will be about if Tiggy is dressed up as a strawberry?
  • Can you find the second paintbrush on the front cover?
  • There is a big splodge on the front cover – what is the illustrator trying to represent?

2. Read the blurb on the back cover and ask these questions:

  • What is an ‘imagination’?
  • What would it be to have a ‘big imagination’?
  • What are feelings?
  • What would it be to have ‘big feelings’?
  • What types of fruits would you find in a fruit salad?
  • What is Felix dressed up as?
  • Is Poh dressed up? Why not?
  • What are nerves?
  • What does it mean by ‘when nerves creep in’?
  • What has happened to you when you have been nervous? How did your body feel?
  • What happened for you to feel nervous? Did you have to perform on stage too?
  • Why would Tiggy’s voice become ‘croaky’?
  • What do you think is meant by ‘the right voice’ to save the show?
  • What do you think Tiggy’s magic paintbrush can do?
  • The illustrations on the back cover show everything in colour except for Tiggy and her friends. Why do you think that is so?



Content Description: ACPPS006
Identify actions that promote health, safety and well-being.


  • Grouping foods into categories such as food groups and ‘always’ and ‘sometimes’ foods
  1. Discuss with your students what healthy and unhealthy foods are. Draw a table with two columns on the whiteboard/ large piece of paper with one side titled ‘Healthy’ and ‘Not so Healthy’ and also represented with a ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ for understanding.
  2. Ask students to suggest foods and where they can be placed on the table. Draw pictures of the food next to the text to help understanding.
  3. Explain how these foods can be ‘always’ and ‘sometimes’ foods.


Content Description: ACADRM027
Explore role and dramatic action in dramatic play improvisation and process drama


  • taking part in purposeful dramatic play focusing on experiencing the roles and situations they create
  • taking turns in offering and accepting ideas, and staying in role in short improvisations
  • exploring possibilities for role and situation when participating in whole group teacher-led process drama and roleplay
  • taking photos or videoing drama they devise to view and extend their drama ideas
  • Considering viewpoints – forms and elements: For example – How did the performers use their voices? What sort of movements did the performers use? What voice and movement have you noticed in others’ performances that you might consider in making your own drama and why?



Content Description: ACELT1579
Replicate the rhythms and sound patterns in stories, rhymes, songs and poems from a range of cultures


  • using music and actions to enhance appreciation of rhymes, poems, chants and songs
  • reciting rhymes with actions

Together with your students write your own Fruit/and or Vegetable Salad Musical Show. Have students in pairs choose a fruit. Help students to write or say a couplet following Tiggy’s performance:

‘I like strawberries,

Red and sweet.

Apples and berries

and other juicy treats.’



‘I like watermelon,

red and round.

They grow along

the dirt in the ground.’


‘I love mangoes

juicy and yellow.

Sweeter than the

sound of a cello .’


‘I love apples

red and green.

Crunchy and crisp,

always to be seen.’

Have students memorise their couplet in their pair.

Encourage students to help make up actions to their couplet that could help to represent their fruit or vegetable, or just some fun actions.

Record student’s performances and watch with them (or as a whole class). Discuss if their voices are clear. Discuss if their actions are well formed. Encourage them to critique and improve if necessary.



Content Description: ACAVAM108
Create and display artworks to communicate ideas to an audience


  • sharing ideas with their classmates about the representational choices they made in their artwork
  • Considering viewpoints – meanings and interpretations: For example – What did this artwork or design make you think about and why? What figures/shapes can you see in the artwork? How has the artist treated the figures/shapes to convey their idea or meaning?
  • making a decision about how to display their artwork to share their ideas


Designing costumes

  1. Using large pieces of white or brown paper approx. 80-100cm x 30-40cm, fold in half and cut out a head hole at the fold. Then cut to shape if required eg: round for apple, long and thin for a banana. Staple down sides if required but make sure student can get in and out of the costume. Discuss with students what colour their fruit or vegetable is. Research if necessary. Have students paint their costumes in the appropriate colours. If necessary talk about details in the fruit such as seeds or stalk and paint the details on. Paper hats could be designed too, just like Tiggy’s.
  2. Practise and perform your show. This could be done at assembly/ to parents/ individual classes etc.

Take it further:

Within the book, Tiggy deals with nerves and overcoming them. This links perfectly with the

Learning Continuum of Critical and Creative Thinking, Self-Awareness Element, under the Australian Curriculum.


Sub-element: Recognise Emotions

  • identify a range of emotions and describe situations that may evoke these emotions

Sub-element: Recognise personal qualities and achievements

  • Identify their likes and dislikes, needs and wants and explore what influences these

Sub-element: Develop reflective practice

  • Reflect on their feelings as learners and how their efforts affect skills and achievements



Sub-element: Become confident, resilient and adaptable

  • Identify situations that feel safe or unsafe, approaching new situations with confidence

Discuss with your students how Tiggy has feelings of nerves and how she overcomes them.


  • Have you ever felt that way before?
  • What was the situation you were in?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • What did you do?
  • Did you overcome it?
  • What might be some ways to overcome those types of feelings?



Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

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1 Comment

  1. Zanni Louise on Jan 18, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Dear Megan and Melissa, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this with your community. How wonderful are these teacher’s notes! It makes me so happy to hear how Tiggy might join classrooms across Australia. Thank you. x

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