Adopt an Author Parties 2017!

Did anyone say party?!!!! That’s right, we’re at the end of the brilliant 2017 Adopt An Author. St Luke’s, Goldstone, Mile Oak and Carden have all read, written, illustrated and taken care of their adopted author’s superbly, so it is now time to celebrate this fantastic project coming to an end for this year and what better way than for classes to meet their authors in person!

First up Ali Sparkes took us back in time to her childhood and on the road to becoming an author in the 1970s….

Goldstone’s Year 3 met their adopted author Guy Bass AND his character STITCH HEAD at The Brighton Dome, where they ate yummy Pizza Face Pizza…

Excitement levels were high when Mile Oak met their Perijee and Me author Ross Montgomery – was pineapple on the menu…?

And for 2017’s last Adopt an Author party, Carden chatted Ninja films and Egyptian tombs with Rob Lloyd Jones!

The 2017 Adopt an Author project has been a wonderful success, it has been an absolute joy to see the incredible work all the children have produced and to hear how confidence has grown amongst many readers. We’ve been blown away by the stories written, character descriptions, cover art and illustrations to name just a few tasks and delighted to see the relationships with classes and authors blossom! What a fun project! Can we do it again next year?!!!

A huge thank you to all the teachers, assistants, authors and of course the children who took part. It’s been brilliant!

Team AAA x

Rock & Ryhmes

Over to St Luke’s Adopted Author Ali Sparkes who’s set a rad rhyming challenge….

Hello again, 5P!

I know you’re all reading Dark Summer so I wonder if you can guess what kind of rock this is…

To give you a clue, I found this at the top end of a pot hole in the Mendip Hills in Somerset while I was there researching for Dark Summer. I got to meet the people who run the Wookey Hole Caves tours – and they showed me the places where tourists don’t usually get to go including an amazing miniature cave, filled with tiny stalactites and stalagmites and frozen rivers of rock. It was beautiful but you could only reach it up a ladder, with a torch, which is why the public don’t normally go there. While I was there the cave manager agreed to turn off the torch so I could experience the ultimate DARKNESS. It was quite something. It was so utterly dark it felt like someone had pushed black velvet against my eyeballs.

I also got to meet a cave diver and rescue guy (the one called Dan who is in the story is based on Dany, who helped me with my research). He told me exactly how cave rescues work and little details like the warm oyxgen canisters they use to revive injured cavers, which they call Little Dragons.

Anyway, you’ll know by now that one of the things Eddie loves is messing around with words. You’ll have noticed that I messed around with the words to the song I WILL SURVIVE. I hope you all know it and can hear the music in your head as Eddie’s singing ‘…and then I spent so many nights remembering you look like King Kong and I grew strong… ‘cos girls with that much hair are wrong…’

Changing the lyrics to songs is a really good way of learning about rhyming and rhythm. Many people can rhyme words but not so many people can get then to scan correctly. This means the rhythm is right and when you read it out loud it really works. You should always read a rhyming poem you’ve written out loud to check the rhythm is right. An author who is really good at this is Dr Seuss who wrote The Cat In the Hat and many other rhyming stories.

Can you rhyme and scan? Give it a go. Think of a really well known song and then mess around with the lyrics. I’ll give you a theme to make it easier – how about FRUIT AND VEG! Anything to do with fruit and veg will be great. So if you rewrote Happy Birthday it might go like this:

I need spuds for my stew

And a big turnip too

And tomatoes

And potatoes

And a small slice of you

(Written by a polite cannibal.)

If you sing this now, you’ll find all the words fit the rhythm exactly. So – have a go. Use any song you like (but which most people will know, so they can hear the tune in their heads) and work fruit and veg into it somehow. Practise it out loud and see how you do!

Good luck, 5P.

PS. This line of warning, which I wrote this morning, will cease to rhyme, in two seconds time, when I randomly tail off without any further effort…

PPS. The rock in the picture is limestone with a bit of quartz and iron oxide on the top.

Never ones to shy away from such a challenge 5P accepted the task with gusto and created some first-rate rhymes!

Wow! A banana called Ana, a trip to Ghana, a nana called Hannah Montana from Louisiana! Scary peas, shoes stolen by emu’s, falling in love with carrot soup – 5P your rhyming is fantastic but also EXTREMELY FUNNY!!!

That was 5P’s last challenge – next stop THE DOME!!!!! Until then….

Team AAA x

6L’s final week!!!!

Eeeeeeek, it’s the final week of Adopt an Author, Mile Oak have had an amazing project and created some brilliant work, but it’s not over just yet… Ross Montgomery has been in touch for the last time before he meets them at The Dome (exciting!) to answer some of 6L’s questions!)
Dear 6L,
It’s upon us – the final week! Waaaaaaah
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I loved looking through the designs of your planets – you did so much work! Especially considering how busy you all are at the moment.
Thanks again for all your great work. Now to answer your questions!
What do you think the monster that took over Perijee looks like? Ellie
To be honest, I’m not 100% sure – it’s quite hard to visualise isn’t it? I suppose that in my head it looks like a vast bloated snake covered in long tentacles that look like hair, but I tried to avoid describing it in the book as much as possible – there’s a saying that you should only create the first half of your book, and let your reader create the rest. That means that you shouldn’t describe EVERYTHING – sometimes it’s better to leave things unsaid, and let your reader imagine the rest!
 
How did you get the name Obsidian Blade and have you ever felt that someone will come and get you at night? Freya R
I’m so glad you thought about the name Obsidian Blade! Obsidian is a rock that is incredibly dark and incredibly sharp – in fact it’s so sharp that it can cut BETWEEN the cells in your body!! Aztec priests used to use Obsidian knives in their sacrifices – and without giving too much away, that gives you a bit of a clue as to what’s coming up later…
As for thinking something’s going to come and get me in the night: my cat starts fights with others cats at 4am and runs back in the house screaming. If you ever want to wake up terrified, it’s a pretty effective method.
 
Did you create the Obsidian Blade mark? Caitlin
Sort of!! I sent my publisher a design on Microsoft paint, saying that I was happy for them to come up with something better – in the end they took most of my idea anyway. It’s supposed to be a crucifix that looks like a dagger, with tentacles – you should be able to see the initials OB in there too! Below is what I sent my publisher – as you can see, it’s pretty rubbish.
Inline image 1
 
Is Wanderly based on a place you’ve seen/heard of? Caitlin
Oooh, interesting – when I visualise it in my head, it doesn’t look like anywhere I recognise! That can happen a lot – it’s often not until I’ve finished writing a book that I realise I’ve based places and characters on real places and people I know. For example, when I think of Middle Island I picture the pig farm I used to work on in Yorkshire when I was 21. I imagine Wanderly is based on the big rural towns that used to be near the farm – places like Knaresborough, Harrogate and Northallerton. How good are those names?!
 
How did you come up with the idea of stealing a yacht and supergluing people’s feet to the floor? (Funny thought)! Alfie
Glad you like it! I wanted Caitlin and Fi’s journey to have lots of different “stages”, so it made sense for some of it to be on land and some of it to be on water. I also liked the idea of it being confusing and chaotic – and how the reader has no idea what Caitlin did to steal the yacht! Again, I think it’s nice to let the reader make up their own minds sometimes – it makes reading even more fascinating when you know that everyone comes up with a slightly different idea or image in their mind.
 
What gave you the idea to make Perijee have patterns all over him?
I suppose part of it was wanting to do something different – a type of alien that hasn’t been shown before in books and films (although I’m sure that someone has thought up an alien covered in writing before!) I also wanted to link it to Caitlin’s problems with dyslexia – to Caitlin, all writing seems like an alien language. I wanted the reader to be confused and fascinated by what the symbols could mean, and that helps get an insight into what it’s like for Caitlin to read. There are lots of themes in the book about symbols and reading – hence why I included a symbol for Obsidian Blade rather than just writing their name!
 
Why did you decide to put a cow in the life jacket? Kayleigh
Because it is hilarious. If in doubt, put a cow in a life jacket!
 
How did Perijee start growing tentacles? Alfie
Again, I have no idea – I like the idea of the reader coming up with an image in their mind. I do imagine it happening lightning-fast though, like when a venomous snake suddenly attacks…
 
You have been talking soooo much about Pineapples that I actually dreamt about one. Evelyn
Good. You should buy a pineapple nightlight!
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I like the irony of them reading the boat safety manual while the boat is sinking next to them-Bradley
Thank you! It was a joke I added in at the last second and thought no one would find funny except me – looks like I was proved wrong!
Thanks again
Ross
6L have some wonderful comments on the book, it’s safe to say that they all really enjoyed Perijee and Me!
 I loved the book because you never knew what might happen next and when I read it I felt like I was IN IT! #Perijeeandmeforever – Mothakin

 I love the book because it really asks you the question ‘do aliens exist.’ Also you really get to know all characters and how they are all very different. Honor

 I loved the book because you never knew what was going to happen. And EVERY day we were left on cliff hangers. My favourite character was Perijee. Charlie T

 I absolutely loved the way that through the book the style type/genre changes like when it’s all adventurewhen they are collecting Perijee whilst he’s shrinking but then a few pages later Caitlin is saying goodbye to Perijee forever. Overall the book was astonishing and I would give it a 10/10  Charlie J

 The part of the story where Perijee returned to the ocean was so upsetting I wondered why you even added it but then I realised that that’s what makes it a great story – Evelyn

 The saddest bit is the ending it was so sad because I now miss Perijee – James

 The book was amazing! My favourite scene was when Perijee put a hole through the door and when Perijee said goodbye to Caitlin. That was so selfish of Perijee! Hehe. But overall it was the best book I’ve read. I would give it 10/10 (Great)! – Alfie

 I really loved the book. It’s full of adventure, humour and excitement. My favourite character is Fi because she’s very exciting and outgoing. I like the promotions of pineapples in the book but unfortunately I’m allergic to pineapple

 Perijee is also really cool because he’s funny and interesting. I’d definitely recommend this book and maybe read it again and again! 10/10 Ellie

 I loved the book it was amazing. I liked all the emotion, the characters and that there is so much we still don’t know. My favourite character was Fi because she is different and mysterious. Lauren

 I loved the book because there’s more than one cliff hanger. I like the fact that it felt kid friendly but also had some naughty words  My favourite characters are Fi and Frank because they came to the rescue at the last minute. 10/10 book. Jack

 The reason why I loved the book all together was because most of the scenes were emotional and made me develop feelings for the book too!  I also loved the bit when Perijee sunk into the water because the scene was emotional. Nayeema

 It was so SAD, why does Perijee have to go. It made me think of the scene at the end of the Titanic where the girl drops the boy into the sea while he is frozen. Louis

 I like that we got to say the words that Miss Liddle wouldn’t normally let us say but they weren’t that bad.

P.S. I LOVE THE BOOK because it’s funny and a sad book. When I was reading it I had mixed emotions. Freya R

 I loved the plot twist about how he lived in the water. Also I loved the characters personalities. But it was so sad at the end I almost cried! Courtney

 Great book, mix between Sci-fi and friendship. Love how you really get Caitlin’s character across. The

dyslexia and innocentness about her and how she is kind of simple. William

 I love the book because of all the detail in it. I also love the characters in it because they’re relatable. Also how sad it is but happy as well. Bradley

 It makes me feel like there’s another planet up there somewhere. I loved the book, my favourite scene was when the monster came in. Fin

 I liked Mother because she was funny at times. Kayleigh

 I really liked the book. Your way of writing is different and great to read. The way you write for kids but there are more important messages and all the unique characters. Caitlin

 My favourite character is Perijee because he was a mysterious little thing. The book is probably the best book in the whole world, better than Roald Dahl. I love how you have used all the similes and how it’s so creative. Brooke

 I loved the book, I like how they adopted Fi and that Frank lives with them and the story is fascinating and I just don’t want to put it down. My favourite character is Fi. – Freya S

 My favourite part of the book would be when Caitlin had to say goodbye to Perijee, it was very emotional and my eyes teared up. I love the similes, they are so detailed. Mia

 I loved how Fi got adopted and the fact that Caitlin drank champagne and felt dizzy and had to lie down! And in the whole book Perijee was very cute! I also like how Frank used some rude language. Amelia

See you at The Dome 6L and Ross!
Team AAA x

Potion Devotion

This week Goldstone’s Year 3 have brewed the most potent of tonics in Guy’s potion project….

Hm, seems like all this superb sideshow silliness has given me an appetite – and nothing satisfies my hunger like a tasty bowl of challenge soup…

By now, you’re all so immersed in the world of Castle Grotteskew you might as well be mad professors. Or perhaps you already are.
So, your not-quite-but-nearly final challenge is to create your own powerfully potent potion! Here are some things to consider:
 
– Is it a monster-making or creation-curing concoction? Is it something Professor Erasmus might create in his lab or would you more likely find it in Stitch Head’s dungeon?
– What is the potion‘s desired effect?
– What exactly is your potion made from? It should have at least five (but no more than five hundred) incredible ingredients.
– What’s the name of your potion?
 
Don’t forget to include a picture of the bottle, complete with label!
Good luck!
Cheers,
Guy
P.S. Have yourselves a DINGLE DANGLE!
Should author / illustrator not take the fancy of some of Year 3’s we think that a prosperous career in the world of pharmaceuticals or mad professors might just work out…their potion’s are positively perfect!
Pupil’s Josh and Ben shared some designs….

We’ve dingled and we’ve dangled till we’re feeling rather dizzy.

We created and mixed, squashed, squished and splatted until the potions are complete.

We’ve got the epilogue to read so we are really hoping that Stitch Head is remembered. Arabella is hopefully a friend to Stitch Head. We really enjoyed the way she speaks and we often call her Angrybella which makes us laugh. Another name for Angrybella is Arolella.

We have enjoyed the book a lot. I, (Ben) think this is my favourite book yet. The monster is the funniest character in the book (Josh).

See you soon. Have yourself a Dingle Dangle back!

Josh and Ben

We love Arthur’s explosive spray – the hand-grenade bottle is inspired! Top marks to the name Smell and Yell (lol!) and Ewan your potion that turns nice monsters into ferocious monsters – ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING!!!! They are all brilliant and terrifying and gruesome and I hope never to find such a potion in my bathroom cabinet!

Well done Goldstone Year 3 – super work!

Team AAA x

Beginning, Middle, THE END…!

…Well not quite the end of our 2017 Adopt An Author project for Carden but over the past couple of weeks Year 6 have been focussing on their STORY ENDINGS….

So, for the next challenge, I wonder if you could write a paragraph telling me how your story ends! It doesn’t have to be very detailed at all, just enough to make you think about it and have an idea of where the story would be going once you got going.

Look forward to reading them!

Rob

Carden, as ever had great fun with the challenge – we’ve picked a few of our favourite’s to share with you…

 

Thanks so much for all of these great story endings – I really enjoyed reading them all. You all seem to be using your imaginations to their full, and it sounds like you’re enjoying the stories you’re telling – which is the most important thing by far. If you enjoy your own story, then others will too, and it’s much easier to write as well.

Your endings were all exciting and full of twists. I did think though that some of them didn’t quite feel like ENDINGS to stories. A story end should bring your character’s journey to a finish – your character should finally achieve his or her goal. Once that has been done, then you can throw in a big twist or ‘cliff-hanger.’ To make readers want to carry on to the next book.

But my advice is DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE NEXT BOOK. Just tell the story you want to tell as if it is the ONLY book. Finish the story fully and then worry about what might occur next in your main character’s life. As an example: If your hero is a tough but lonely detective who is trying to catch a criminal – for instance – but the end of the story that character should have caught the criminal and become less lonely by making new friends. THAT is the ending – a satisfying and happy one for your character. BUT then you can reveal that the criminal he caught is just one of many criminals from a huge gang of genius thieves. So we know there will be lots more adventures to come. The cliffhanger there is good because we have already had the happy ending before.

The other important thing about an ending is that your main character should have been changed by the adventure. So they began as lonely and ended up with friends, or they started the story as mean and ended up being kind. IT can be very a very simple change, but there should definitely be one.

They were all great fun to read, so thank you!

Full of enthusiasm for such great work, Rob set the next challenge…..

I think it would be good to work on this more in the next task. So, could you all write for me in just one or two sentences how your main character changes in your story? Don’t write a chapter or paragraph from your story – just a sentence from you to me saying ‘My character changes because (and then give the reason)’

This should be a change in your character’s personality – not in the action. So they go from being nice to mean, or good to evil maybe? Looking forward to hearing your answers!

Now, normally we might make you wait for the next instalment to find out what brilliant work Carden have created, but we’re feeling especially generous this week, so…. HOT OFF THE PRESS! Here’s head teacher Helen who sent Rob their work…

We finished the book this morning too so I suspect there might be a spike in sales (to the tune of 21) of Wild Boy 2 this evening.

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We’re nearing the end of our Adopt An Author journey for 2017, and it looks as though these wonderful characters that Carden have created have been on a pretty fantastic journey themselves – we think all the authors have too!

We’ll see you next time at the party, when Year 6 meet Rob!

Until then,

AAA x

Perijee, Pineapples & Planets!

Over the course of the Adopt An Author project classes and their authors get to know each other really well – Ross Montgomery shared some details of an amazing holiday he recently went on to Montenegro:
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WOWEEEEE what a beautiful place! An inspiring place to write too we imagine!
It sounds like 6L have been visiting some pretty cool places too!
Hello Ross,

We think your holiday looks amazing and we enjoyed looking at your photos. Lots of us have been on exciting holidays too including Mexico, France, Wales, Isle of Wight, Birmingham, Cornwall and London.


We’ve some more questions and comments. As you can see, we’re very interested in this new character Fi!……

Where did you get the idea of stealing a van? James
This is an excellent question – I’m not sure if I know myself! In the first draft Caitlin stole a Ferrari and immediately crashed it – I think I decided on an ice cream van because it was the only thing big enough to fit a cow and two girls inside, AND because it’s funny.
 
If you could, would you turn Perijee and Me into a series? William
Without giving TOO much away… I don’t know if I could turn PERIJEE & ME into a series! I’ve never written a series before, and I’m always tempted to revisit characters, but at the moment I think it works best as a stand-alone book. Perhaps you’ll understand when you finish it!
 
If you ever had the chance to put Perijee into another story what would it be? Alfie
I do occasionally end up putting characters from one books into other books – in fact, an early version of Frank was originally in my previous book THE TORNADO CHASERS, as a teacher called Mr Pewlish! In the end I changed the character completely and made the teacher a woman called Mrs Pewlish – but I liked the character of Frank so much I put him in PERIJEE & ME anyway, and I think he works much better there. I’m not sure where I’d put Perijee – I’ve got three more books out in the next year, and unfortunately he’s not in any of them!
 
Does Caitlin like being the character where she tells a lot of lies? Charlie J
What I like so much about Caitlin is that she often doesn’t REALISE how bad she is at lying! She’s too innocent to really understand what lying is, and how you can be good at it. Whenever I wrote her lying, I always thought of a child with chocolate smeared all round their mouth going, “Cake? What cake? I haven’t seen a cake round here anywhere…”
 
How did you think of Fi? Honor
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Fi didn’t turn up as a character until one of the very late drafts! Originally Caitlin found Mother quite quickly, and most of the second half of the book was about their relationship. My publisher told me this was boring – and to be fair, whenever people talk to me about the book everyone mentions Fi and no one ever mentions Mother! It’s a pity, as I really wanted Mother to be a strange, scary and memorable character – I’m not sure I got it quite right…
I realised that in order to make the story more interesting, I had to pair Caitlin up with someone who was the total opposite of her – streetwise, cynical, pessimistic and sharp. Someone who was totally appalled by how naive Caitlin is, but who is eventually won over by her warmth and love for Perijee. 
The character ended up coming to me quite easily – to be honest, I have a few characters in my other book who are quite like Fi! There’s Martha in ALEX, THE DOG & THE UNOPENABLE DOOR, Orlaith in THE TORNADO CHASERS…. there’s even a similar character called Ivy in my book published next year called MAX & THE MILLIONS! I guess I’m a fan of smart, sarcastic and slightly violent girl characters…
 
Why did you choose for Fi to steal a cow? Mothakin and Finlay
I’m so glad this joke went down as well as it did! I wanted the world after Perijee had taken over to be confusing and chaotic – Caitlin often doesn’t understand how the world works anyway, and it would be like dropping the reader right into the deep end as well. I loved the idea of Fi doing something absolutely bizarre and inexplicable as if it was the most normal thing in the world! And cows are pretty darn hilarious. Like pineapples.
 
What happened to Fi’s parents? Was she telling the truth when she said her mother was sick? Lauren
In truth, I haven’t ever decided what happened to Fi’s parents – I always wrote that moment thinking that she was lying about her mother being sick, but now that you mention it I suppose it could have been partly based on something that happened to her. The sad truth is that there are lots of children in the UK who live in very difficult home situations – more than we like to admit. Perhaps, if something as huge and catastrophic as an alien invasion happened, then there would be lots of children like her able to wander the country and steal things without being stopped.
 
Why did you choose the name Wanderly? Caitlin
What a good question! I often wondered this myself – I had to make up a name and it was the first one that came into my head. I think I wanted something that sounded like a town in the middle of the country – quaint, but big enough to have a town hall etc. Perhaps it’s because it has the word “wander” in it – rather than something more exciting or dynamic! Like Explosionville. Or St Nunchucks.
 
Did you have any other ideas of how Caitlin escaped the camp? Caitlin
I did! In fact, until the last draft Caitlin escaped in a different way – we still had her talking about putting her “disguise” on, then walks up to the exit. The guard looks at her… then turns away. Caitlin thinks her disguise is working perfectly, only for the guard to tell her to go back to bed. It turns out Caitlin is wearing a bedsheet over her head – she thinks if she dresses up like a ghost then no one will see her!
My publisher thought it was a bit too silly – after all, Caitlin often makes mistakes and misunderstands things, but she’s not STUPID. I much prefer the final version in the book – if nothing else, it helps remind us of the trouble Caitlin has with dyslexia!
 
Have you heard about a stolen cow before? Caitlin
 
Do you know anyone like Fi e.g. has her personality and attitude? Louis and Courtney
Yes – my girlfriend!! 
She’s probably be hacked off if she found that out – but then, so would Fi.
 
Where were you when your idea for Perijee and me swung into your mind? Mia
I’ve mentioned before that I was walking through a park near the place where I worked, and I saw the businessman lying on the ground – it’s right next to the Museum of Childhood, which is a wonderful museum – next time you’re in East London, make sure you visit!
 
What inspired you to have a 12/13 year old girl as a thief? Freya S
I like the idea of characters who don’t necessarily behave how you’d expect – I particularly like it when those characters are children! It’s one of the joys of writing a book – in real life, if you did what Fi did you’d get in serious trouble… but I love imagining her doing illegal things and getting away with it!
 
Why is her name Fi? Brooke
I realised this only recently! When I first wrote her, I chose the first name that came into my head – Fi just seemed to make sense to me, and I didn’t question why. It was only much later that I realised that when I wrote those new scenes, I had just read an early copy of a book written by my friend Katherine Rundell – THE WOLF WILDER 
(The best part about being an author is you get to read books before they’re published!)
Some of you may have read THE WOLF WILDER – if you haven’t, you should! It’s a wonderful book with an amazing main character – a young girl who lives in the middle of a snowy forest in Russia and teaches tame wolves how to be wild again. And her name is… Feo!
Basically, I completely stole the name and had no idea until much later. Luckily Katherine Rundell didn’t want to beat me up or anything – and she probably could. As well as writing books, she’s a tightrope walker, a pilot, and stuffs animals!
It was now Ross’ turn to set a task for 6L….
What do you think Perijee’s home planet might be like? Do you think there’ll be lots of aliens like him – will he have a family? What would their house be like? What would their cities be like?

Discuss your different ideas – then, as a class, have a go sketching your ideas down. Once again I’d like you to focus on your descriptive writing – if you end up drawing Perijee’s house, label it with really good descriptive words! Think about what a whole city of Perijees might need – roads? Parks? What would alien shops have to sell, and what would they look like?
If you like, you can each do a drawing – however you might prefer to do one big one as a class. I leave it entirely up to you!

We’ve picked a few of our favourite other-worldly landscapes to share – Perijee’s home looks pretty lovely – another exotic holiday destination to add to the list!
Bye for now!
Team AAA x

Roll up, roll up! All the fear of the Carnival!

We left Goldstone last week with the promise of an excellent next task and Year 3 certainly did not disappoint! Shall we see what they have been up to??? Guy set them a creepy carnival challenge…

So, as you know, Fulbert Freakfinder is desperate to recruit Stitch Head as the star of his Carnival of Unnatural Wonders. He goes to great lengths to convince Stitch Head he could be a star, including creating a poster, featuring Stitch Head as the main attraction.

I want you to create your own poster for Fulbert Freakfinder’s Carnival of Unnatural Wonders. It can feature Stitch Head and / or Doctor Contortion, Madame Moustache and the Topsy Turvy Twins OR your very own uniquely freakish attraction / character / star of the show, to pull in hordes of punters! Your job is to make the carnival look as exciting as possible, so that Freakfinder gets loads of visitors and doesn’t go out of business…

Good luck! Can’t wait to see your posters.

Speak soon, and, as if I need to say it, Have yourselves a DiNGLE DANGLE…

Guy
What monstrous, unnatural beings might Year 3 have created? They explored the depths of their imaginations and set about creating some grotesque creatures – the stuff of nightmares!!! Dare we have a look…….
Hi Guy,

I’m Emily and I’m very pleased to be writing to you.

I really liked your challenge and I think it was very competitive. I thought about Fulbert and how horrible he was, so I drew him with a duck body. I renamed him Duckbert. Thinking about it makes me laugh.

I have found the story very funny and when we’ve acted it out, I have played the part of the Creature. Mr Lessel’s thought my performance was very funny because of the voice that I used. I was madder than Professor Erasmus.

Hope Chapter 14 is even better.

Emily

DUCKBERT! We love it! That’s seriously funny Emily, we’re in STITCHES!
 
Guy was suitably impressed and a little FREAKED OUT!

Emily … Creations of Year 3 … brave souls of Chuggers Nubbin – Roll up, roll up!

Thanks for your incredible posters – I had a whale of a time inspecting them in all their gruesomely grotesque glory. I loved how much variety there was in terms of composition and content – especially the new characters you threw in there. Some of my freakish favourites were:

THE GYMNASTIC KITTENS!

MR MOHAWK! (He will mess your trousers until they come off)
THE HIDEOUS MR BONE! (He could bite your guts out)
THE SPLITTING SKULL! (It will mess you up for life)
THE TERRIFYING THREE ARMED CREATURE THAT IS THE SIZE OF A BEAR!

And, possibly most nonsensically nightmarish of them all…

FOOT BODY!

(On a side note, Stitch Head began almost-life as an idea called An Arm and a Leg. One of the two main characters, Leg, had a foot for a body! More on that later…)

Sounds to me like the greatest show on Earth! So, “Roll up! Roll up! We’ll make you crack up!” “Come to Brighton for a trouser messing show!” “You’ll never forget your panic!” “Just one penny a peek!”

After all, as Cousin Bob puts it, it’s “Really really really really really really really really really really really really COOL!”

Hm, seems like all this superb sideshow silliness has given me an appetite – and nothing satisfies my hunger like a tasty bowl of challenge soup…

By now, you’re all so immersed in the world of Castle Grotteskew you might as well be mad professors. Or perhaps you already are.

So, your not-quite-but-nearly final challenge is to create your own powerfully potent potion! Here are some things to consider:

– Is it a monster-making or creation-curing concoction? Is it something Professor Erasmus might create in his lab or would you more likely find it in Stitch Head’s dungeon?

– What is the potion’s desired effect?
– What exactly is your potion made from? It should have at least five (but no more than five hundred) incredible ingredients.
– What’s the name of your potion?

Don’t forget to include a picture of the bottle, complete with label!

Good luck!

Cheers,

Guy
P.S. Have yourselves a DINGLE DANGLE!
We can’t wait to see what Year 3 concoct! Until next time!
Team AAA x

6L’s Superb Storyboarding

We’ve caught up with the wonderful work that 6L have been producing for their adoptive author Ross Montgomery! A few weeks ago he explained the importance of planning each chapter of your book and asked the class to create some storyboards…
You’ve each designed an alien and started describing it. Eventually you’ll be putting your alien in a short bit of writing – but for now, we’re going to plan it. Planning is essential if you want to be a writer – often it helps you realise that the idea in your head won’t work as you thought! I normally plan my story out by typing out what happens in each chapter, but seeing as you’re all such excellent artists you’re going to be making a storyboard instead.
  1. Start by diving your sheet of paper up into 9 boxes – three lines of three. You could always do more/less, but 9 is a good place to start! If Miss Liddle prefers, she could give you a printed sheet with 9 panels on it already.
  2. Your story is going to be about a child who finds an alien near where they live. It could be they find it in their house, or on the way home from school, or when they go exploring in a forest. The choice is yours!
  3. In the first three panels, set up your story – why is your character doing before they stumble upon their alien? Add bits of dialogue if you want, but this is a storyboard so it doesn’t need much.
  4. In the next three panels, your character is going to discover their alien. This will be an important part of your story, so make sure it’s a surprising or magical moment! How would your character react – terrified? Entranced? Delighted? Disgusted? Remember the alien you designed – if they’re scary then your character will probably be petrified!
  5. In the last three panels, you’re going to show what happens next – we don’t have to finish the storythough! Does you main character become friends with the alien and try to hide him/her? Does the alien ask your main character for help? Is your story a horror story and the alien chases your main character away? The choice is yours – but remember, this is only the beginning of a longer story. It could always be a single chapter later on!

It’s safe to say 6L created some amazing storyboards, I think there’s a few budding graphic novelists in our midst! We’ve picked a few of our favourites…

Dear 6L,

Thank you so much for sending on your storyboards! I loved looking through these – there’s was such a variety of different ideas and story directions. I’m also busy writing at the moment – I’ve been given two books back by my publishers (TWO!) and need to have them completely finished by Wednesday, so I’m working like a maniac. Perhaps I might even be able to read some of them to you when I see you!
  • Amelia: I LOVED the Amazon joke in this! Properly made me laugh. Can’t wait to read more of your funny story!
  • Caitlin: I can tell you’re a fan of comic books – your drawings are lovely and you’ve chosen to “frame” each scene really well.
  • Ellie: …And the same goes for Ellie! This looked exactly like a real comic to me instead of just a storyboard. I’m intrigued by your mysterious alien!
  • Freya: This alien is adorable! I love how you set the scene with snow outside as well – this will work really nicely when you write your story.
  • Jack: What a story! It’s got a sad beginning and tons of destruction – just my kind of thing! However I DO want to find out more – about how Kia sadly dies, and how Peritron is killed – make sure you leave room for those details!
  • Lauren: I’m fascinated by your strange and wonderful alien! I also love how many different languages you know as a class – my girlfriend is currently learning Greek so we have lots of post-it notes with Greek words stuck up all over the flat, so it was lovely to see them used here…
  • William: …and then I see a story filled with kanjis too! You may well find this becomes useful for the last chapter of PERIJEE & ME (I’m also intrigued by frame 7 of your story – what’ stopping him going back in the house?!
For your next task, we’re going to combine the two different bits of work you’ve done so far – the descriptions of your aliens and your storyboard.

 

Oooooh we’re intrigued for the next challenge – can’t wait to see them! Until next time Ross & 6L!

Team AAA x

 

5P’S EXCELLENT EDITS!

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

That’s a quote from the brilliant children’s author Dr Seuss (above) as this week we’re sharing 5P’s EXCELLENT EDITS!

Before the Easter break Ali emailed her adoptees with updates on her super soup making! STOP Ali, you’re making us all hungry and we’ve still got another hour till lunch!

This week I am running, walking, making soup…

This is the soup I made on Sunday. Cauliflower, potato & cheese.

Loooooovely, if I do say so myself. I’m making lots of soup this week.

I don’t know why. I just AM, OK?!

…and redrafting. Or editing. This basically means I am going all the way through a story I wrote earlier and rewriting bits of it, adding extra bits, taking some bits away entirely. It tales a lot of concentration and in many ways is harder work than writing a whole story for the first time. On the upside, I’ve just engulfed one of my main characters in a swarm of bees. (Yeah. I’m like that.) I didn’t have that bit in the first draft.

Editing is a really important part of being a good writer. It’s tempting to think that the first thing you’ve written is brilliant and could NEVER be improved. But you always can improve your first draft. So this week I’m not asking you to write anything. I’m just asking you to IMPROVE something. I’ve attached your task. It’s some writing which is… a bit iffy. There are all kinds of problems with it. See if you can find them and improve them. You can rewrite bits if you like, adding stuff or changing words to make it more exciting –  or just to make it make sense. You can do this as a class or in groups, in pairs or on your own – I’ll let Paul decide.

Good luck, 5P!

Ali

PS. This message will self destruct in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Here’s the original text – and let’s see what 5P made of it….

What’s wrong with this story? Can you improve it?

Bella woke up in the moonlite and heard strange sounds coming from outside thw window, oh no, she thought, who could that be? She creeped downstares and opened the front door but there was only a shadow in the distance which scared her even more because it was making a mowning sound like a creature.

Suddenly it sprang out of the trees with a scream and Bella was scared to deth. She went and got a stick from the cupboard and threw it at the monster which was running towards the dore.

But as soon as she saw the monster she was gobsmacked because she knew it wasn’t a monster. It was something else.

 

We AND Ali were super impressed….

Well done on your editing before you went off on hols. From the samples I’ve seen it looks like you all picked up the obvious errors and also added some really nice – much better – descriptive words and phrases. And well done Kalina and Matt for getting rid of that ghastly word ‘gobsmacked’ and replacing it with something better. I put it in there because it’s an example of a cliché… the kind of thing which gets said a lot for a while and is a bit of a trend and quite annoying. If I smacked someone in the gob every time they said ‘gobsmacked’ I’d be a champion prize-fighter by now. And in prison, obviously.

Listen out for clichés in the news. The one you’ll hear all the time at the moment is ‘going forward’. It really doesn’t mean anything. Politicians say it a lot. They tend to use a lot of clichés. They’re always saying ‘let me be clear’ and ‘hardworking British people’.

Try to avoid clichés – like ‘scared to death‘ and ‘over the moon‘ and so on. Everyone knows what you mean but they get so boring and predictable. Words are for playing with. You can create your own clichés if you fancy it. Try it out for fun. Instead of ‘sick as a parrot‘ you could say ‘bilious as a bullfrog‘. Instead of ‘over the moon‘ you could say ‘orbiting Jupiter‘.  My favourite made up one is in the Shapeshifter series – ‘mad as a jar of gerbils‘.

A bilious bulfrog, yesterday.

Make a list of boring clichés and then come up with some 5P replacements! And start using them around school. After a while everybody else will start to know who’s from 5P without even looking at them.

OK – the MAIN challenge now. At the end of last term I sent you a small book called A SUDDEN DROP. We’ll be using this….

imgres-4.jpg

BUT…I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until next week to find out what 5P’s next challenge was….

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Team AAA x

 

Dingle Dangle Diaries!

Goldstone’s adoptive author Guy Bass has welcomed Year 3 back and it’s evident that he LOVES a pun – (well who doesn’t?!)

Here’s hopping you all and Year 3 had a cracking break filled with egg-ceptional egg-citement.

Guy and Year 3 have been exchanging some lovely emails and creating some fantastic work over the last few weeks…

Dear Guy,

My name is Logan from Year 3. We think your story is brilliant when Fulbert Freakfinder gets pushed off the ladder. We could picture him in our minds hanging upside down by his pants, it was hilarious. I am looking forward to meeting you in May. I especially enjoy your challenges and me and my friends work has been selected to send to you this week, so I hope you enjoy reading it.

Have a dingle dangle.

Logan

Here’s a pic of Logan and his three pals, one as you can see has a brilliant mind! Logan wrote a lovely email to Guy. As you remember they’ve been reading Stitch Head and it sounds as though they’re loving it!

The creators.JPG
Guy had set the class a fantastic challenge…

What I’d like you to do is come up with an extract from the young Professor Erasmus’s diary from back when he was a child. Erasmus has gathered leftovers from his father’s experiments and is about to bring his first creation to almost-life. Here are some things to think about:

– How is the young Erasmus feeling before he awakens Stitch Head?
– What does he think about his first creation? Is he happy with how Stitch Head     turned out, or was he hoping for more impressive ‘parts’? Was Erasmus lonely     and looking to make a friend or did he want to make a terrifying monster? Or     maybe he wanted to be just like his dad, Professor Erasmus Senior?
– What time of day or night is it?
– Does Erasmus bring Stitch Head to almost-life in secret or does Professor              Erasmus Senior know about it?
– How does Erasmus awaken Stitch Head? What potions and equipment does he   use?

 

We loved delving into these diaries and Guy did too…

Thanks again for sending me your fantastic writing. I was really impressed with the way you brought the scenes to life (as young Erasmus brought Stitch Head to almost-life) and the imagination that went into work.

Holly, Milo, Scarlett and Poppy, I enjoyed how your diary entries gave a sense of the passing of time, especially when Erasmus realised how long it would take to make his creation. I also loved the idea of the dawn light “creeping along the corridor” as if it wasn’t to be trusted…
Felix, “forever glue” is my new favourite bonding agent! I love your writing, especially Stitch Head’s batty behaviour when he’s first awakened. Stitch Head yanking on Erasmus’s hair “like he was taking a strawberry plant out of the ground” is a wonderfully absurd simile. And it was great to see Erasmus getting the better of Stitch Head in the “gobbling a plate of worms first” (!) game by tricking him – it’s a clever way to make you wonder why Erasmus made his creation in the first place.
Sonny and Sam, what a tragic tale! The passing of time here is a nice way to make Erasmus’s separation from Stitch Head all the more heartbreaking – especially as he’s made to feel ashamed for creating him in the first place. It’s a far cry from the touching line, “He looks a bit ugly I suppose … but I love him all the same”. Nice one.
Ben, Hana and Lucas, My favourite part of your writing was how you evoked the moment of awakening after a tense set-up. “As I pumped air being into its mouth, its stomach started rising up and down” paints a great picture. And the idea of Stitch Head wriggling into life is a line I wish I’d thought of myself!
Emily and Mercy, I really enjoyed how you explored the mixed emotions Erasmus felt about telling his dad about his creation. He’s desperate for his father to be proud of him, but still he skulks around and hopes not to wake him … and even after he brings his creation to almost-life he still dares not tell him. This is fascinating and makes the reader wonder why Erasmus is so conflicted. A lovely example of “Show, don’t tell”, which is good advice for any writer. Well done.
Emily Lucy and Marlie, This is a fantastic line: “Finally, I found essence of nightshade, lava and air freshener.” Because any new creation needs to smell fresh! Wonderful. I also loved the idea that Stitch Head was sewn together with fabric from his dad’s pants!
Arthur, Joe, Logan and Rory, your piece was short and to the point, and I think it had my favourite line of all: “I sneakily took some eyeballs from the eyeball cupboard” This single line says so much about the world of the castle. Great work!
We’ve had a sneak preview into the next challenge and we CAN’T WAIT to see the creations – all we’ll say is that it….. NO WE COULDN’T POSSIBLY, you’ll just have to check back next week!!!
Team AAA x