IELTS Cue Card Sample 142 - Describe a children's story that you know well

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a children's story that you know well.

You should say:

  • when you first heard or read it
  • what you particularly liked about it
  • why you think it became popular

and give a brief of the story.

Sample Answer 1:
The first children’s story I can think of is one that I doubt you will know. It was one of my absolutely favourite stories when I was little, and I just assumed everyone else knew it too. As I’ve got older I’ve never met anyone else who read it, I feel you have all missed out, maybe by talking about it to you today you will one day seek it out and read it for yourself.

I’m going to tell you what the story is, when I first read it and why I didn’t just like it but loved it so much. As to why it became popular? Well it is a mystery to me why it isn’t more widely known, but I can tell you why I think it is so charming, and I’ll give you a bit of an overview of the story too, it’s quite simple. I might tell you that early on actually, as then you will understand why I liked it so much and why I think it is so appealing.

The story is called ‘The story of Ferdinand’, it’s by someone called Munro Leaf, and I first came across it as a little paperback with a bright orange cover. It hasn’t got very many words, but it is illustrated with beautiful black and white line drawings by someone called Robert Lawson. I don’t remember how I came to have the book, it must have been a present from someone, and I was very little when I first read it. Maybe around five year’s old, although I can’t be sure.

The story nearly broke my heart when I was little! It is the tale of a bull called Ferdinand that was bred to fight in Spain. I couldn’t believe that such a cruel sport existed, and it was terrible to me that this little bull was to be forced to battle. The story was how he never liked to fight. He was a peaceful bull, who preferred to sit smelling the flowers and keeping out of trouble. Whilst his more volatile companions practised putting their heads together he would find a shady spot to sit and ponder. One day some important people came to the field where he was living to choose a ferocious bull to fight in the bull fights in Madrid. Ferdinand did not want to be picked, so he snuck quietly away.  However, disaster! He sat on a bee, and the bee stung him. Ferdinand leapt up in surprise and started to buck and plunge about because he was in so much pain. The people think he must be a very rough and tough bull indeed and take him away to fight… When he gets to the bull ring it is awful. The people want to fight and kill him. I was so upset at what might happen to poor Ferdinand! The matadors parade in, they prepare to taunt and spike him with spears. Then Ferdinand is brought into the ring. However, he refuses to fight, he sits in the middle of the arena and quietly smells the flowers in the lovely ladies’ hair. In the story, because he refuses to fight, they eventually take him home, and he is left to sit happily under his favourite cork tree smelling flowers for the rest of his life… I have a horrible feeling that isn’t what would really have happened!

The story is completely charming. The peaceable bull character that doesn’t quite fit in with his friends is easy for a child to relate to. The story is simple to understand. There is peril (that Ferdinand will be forced to fight and could be hurt and killed) but fortunately, there is a happy ending. The illustrations are simple but delightful. Some of the pictures are quite comical too, the angry matador cries and stamps his foot because he couldn’t show off with his cape and sword. The text is very straightforward too, just a sentence on each page, with the facing page full of the illustrations. It was a book I could read and understand myself from an early age. I think it’s a wonderful story – I still get a lump in my throat remembering it now.

I really don’t know how someone found the book for me, and I am at a loss to explain why it isn’t more widely known. I’m sure if it had been more available it would have been (and still be) incredibly popular with younger readers and their parents. I still have a copy of the book. It isn’t my original one, I lent that to someone and never got it back. I was heartbroken. I feel quite sentimental about the tale and couldn’t bear to be without it, so I ended up trying to get a new copy. I found then that it was long out of print, so I ended up buying a ‘new’ second-hand version on amazon or eBay or something. It isn’t the same, but I was glad to have a copy back in my possession. Look out for it if you can, I wonder if you will like it too, or whether you have to be six or under to really appreciate it!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris:  Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]


Model Answer 2: 
In my childhood, I have heard lots of fables, stories and true stories which I still recall. Some of them were so exciting that they thrilled me in my childhood. One such story that I still remember is a fable of a king and a giant ghost.

I heard this story from my grandmother for the first time and it was so exciting that I requested my grandma over and over again to tell this very story.
I liked the excitement and twist of this story. As a kid, I was interested to know about the ghost, the kingdom and the kings and this story told the power of a king, about his kingdom, his queen, a ferocious ghost and the fighting between the human and ghosts. This was a story taken from the fables written by one of the famous fable writer in our country almost 200 years ago. Thus people have read this story ad have told or heard this from others. Over the time this has become a story that passed from generation to generation. Thus it has become a widely popular story in our country.

The story starts with a wise king who was a kind and helpful king of the country. But he had no child who would lead the country after his departure. Thus the king became unhappy and thus the people of the country became greatly sad for their future. One dervish was passing the country and he was deeply touched by the kindness and people’s love for the king while most other kings in the world were feared by the people. He had some divine power a very great dervish and he blessed the king to have a child. But there would be a test for the king at a time of his life. The king was blessed with a beautiful and intelligent baby boy and the people of the kingdom became happy.

The boy became 7 years old when there was a great fight among the ghosts of the other world and a large portion of them was cast away from their world. They choose the world and particularly the kingdom of this kind king to have their living land. They came and started frightening and harming people of the kingdom. The king declared a war against those evil spirits and won the fight with the bravery of the people of the country as well as the soldiers. But to everyone’ surprise the son of the king was missing and the ghost after their defeat left a message that they have captured the boy and would give him back only if the people and the king abandon the kingdom and let them reign there. That was a very difficult test for the king as well as the people of the country. The king then vowed to defeat the ghosts without harming the people of the kingdom. He left the country and the story went on. He had to face lots of tests and thus he gained powers of e truly divine person. Thus he started his tour to the place the ghost captured his son. The story has lot more other interesting parts and twists and finally the kind had been able to rescue his son after 10 years.

As a kid, the story was so appealing to me and I enjoyed the storytelling every time I heard it from my grandma.

Similar Cue Card Topics

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would also enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

1.    Describe a story you heard in your childhood.
2.    Describe a story you remember well.
3.    Describe a bedtime story you remember.
4.    Describe a story you read in your childhood.
5.    Describe a story that you heard from one of your family members.
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