The Long Horned Snig Beetle, Rheracross Beetle and all the brilliant beetles!

The Stanford Beetle Brigade’s brilliant adopted author M. G Leonard got in touch with the team this week and shared a photograph of herself with her pets, and yep of course her awesome pets are beetles!

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The brigade had lots of brilliant beetle questions  for M.G Leonard and a few of their own Battle of the Beetle theories….!

Dear Maya,

We hope you are doing well? We’ve been enjoying the story very much so far. We just got to the bit where Lucrecia cutter visited the cousins. We have a suspicion that Baxter is Darkus’ dad. We think this because beetles don’t usually like the rain and his dad took an umbrella with him even on non-rainy days. We also have another two theories, one being that Lucrecia cutter turned Darkus’ dad into a beetle. The other theory is that Bartholemew created a mixture\potion that turns you into a beetle.

Jay would like to know what your favourite beetle is between a rhinoceros beetle and a long horn beetle.

Clara wants to know where you got the idea to use a rhinoceros beetle.

Spike wants to know what the best part of the book is in your opinion.

Yours sincerely, Spike Bird and the Stanford beetle brigade.

 

 

 

They also shared some amazing pictures of their very own beetle creations! I wonder if we could keep any as pets…?

M. G. Leonard had some fantastic feedback and answers to class questions, but will she reveal any clues to the their story suspicions?!

Dear Spike Bird and the Stanford Beetle Brigade,

I’m so glad you are enjoying the story. You may like to know that the characters of Humphrey and Pickering were inspired by one of my favourite books of all time, The Twits by Roald Dahl. I think they are very funny and I hope you do too.

 I’m afraid I can’t help you with your suspicions and theories because I don’t want to accidentally give away the ending, but I delight in hearing what you think may be going on.

  • My favourite beetle is the Australian Rainbow Stag, because I keep them as pets. And you always love your pet better than any other type of creatures, but between a rhinoceros beetle and a long horn, I would always chose a rhinoceros beetle. They are awesome.
  • I chose a rhinoceros beetle because they are the strongest creature on the planet, but even though the look deadly, they can’t really hurt you and they are vegetarians who love bananas and hide during the day. I loved the idea that something that looked scary was actually friendly, which is one of the themes of my books.
  • The best part of the book is a battle that happens at the end, and I don’t want to spoil it by giving anything away, but needless to say, it’s beetles versus bad guys. It was great fun to write.

Thank-you so much for the pictures of beetles you have created. They are awesome. I loved the name of the Long Horned Snig Beetle, and Karmen, Flowerroseno is ADORABLE! The Rheracross beetle reminded me of a crazy pokemon, and Ramer the glow wing beetle is so cool he should have a book all to himself. I couldn’t see the name of the brightly coloured beetle but it was fantastic. I’m really impressed by all your hard work.

Until next time Standford Beetle Brigade!

Team AAA
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Fishy goings on at Carden Primary

Hmmmmm….there’s something fishy about Carden’s third task this week…..read on to see what Imogen set her team…

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Solve your own local mystery!

As you know, I like to use elements of local history in my creative writing, but I also like to call them local mysteries… For today’s task, I have found a Local Mystery that needs your help to solve.

The Case of the Missing Lumpfish

Some aspects of this mystery are true, and others are made up. I want your investigation into this episode to be full of imagination and clue solving – and to be as creative and inventive as you like!

Our mystery is set in the Brighton Aquarium. Hopefully many of you have been lucky enough to visit this incredible place already. It was built in the Victorian age by the same architect who designed Brighton’s West Pier, (which features in The Amber Pendant,) and to this day, it’s still full of all the old-fashioned tanks that were used when it opened. I love the aquarium – I think its brimming with atmosphere, and a great place to set our mystery!

When the Brighton Aquarium was opened in 1872, many exotic species of sea life were acquired from across the globe – they even had a dolphin at one point. However, not all of them were suitable to be kept in captivity, and many of them sadly died. But people were so fascinated by these creatures of the deep that they would travel from far and wide to see these animals for themselves.

But in May 1873 something very strange happened: A number of fish started to go missing… And, weirder still, the room they were going missing from was always locked and sealed. No one could work out who could have stolen them – or how they could have got the missing creatures in or out.

MakingThe Case of the Missing Lumpfish a locked room mystery…

(By the way, ‘A Locked Room Mystery,” is a crime committed that is really hard to work out how the criminal got in, as the doors were locked, or how they could do it without being detected.)

Now, some of you may already know who was responsible (as this event really did happen!) but I want you to keep the answer to yourselves. This task isn’t really about getting it right, it’s about inventing the most interesting motives. I want you to think up the details behind this mystery: who or what stole the fish, and why they might have taken them…

As I mentioned before, not all my facts are a hundred percent true. Just like my books, I take something from local history and use it as inspiration for my stories, and I’d like you to do the same.

Your task today is to:

Solve the Case of the Missing Lumpfish…

The Victims

The Lumpfish of Brighton Aquarium:

“Lumpsuckers or lumpfish are mostly small marine fish. They are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans.” (Wikipedia)

I’ve drawn you a picture of a lumpfish! They look a bit like this.

(For the purpose of our mystery, Team Carden, the particular variety of Lumpfish stolen from the Aquarium are extremely rare and valuable…)

The Crime Scene

A locked room inside the Brighton Aquarium.

All the entrances to the aquarium were locked each night and the fish counted. But, each and every night, a number of these lumpfish kept disappearing. The only clue was a trail of water across the floor that trickled into the drain. (The drain led to an underground sewer system, leading to the sea. But is big enough for someone, or something to crawl through.)

The Task:

For this task, you are the detective in charge of the investigation.

Step One: Choose a suspect

I need you, firstly, to work out who or what stole these fish. I have put together a list of suspects who might be behind our crime.

The Suspects:

Milly Mayforth: twelve-year-old child genius and animal rights activist. She had recently been moved on from outside the Aquarium holding a handmade sign reading, ‘Sea Creatures belong in the Sea, not in tanks!”

Mr Brown:Local Fish and Chips Restaurant Owner. Who had a passion for frying up more exotic varieties of sea life.

Miss Lucile Lovegood:International collector of unusual and rare sea creatures. Who had recently been turned down on her offer to buy some of the Aquariums Lumpfish for her private collection.

Billie Buster:Chief tank cleaner and local gangster. He had the keys to the room.

Or, perhaps, it was one of the creatures contained in the tanks surrounding the Lumpfish:

The Lobster

The Octopus

The Large Sea Turtle

Or, anyone or anything else you can think of! I don’t mind if you introduce a Sewer Monster or something! Anything you like!

Step Two:

Now you have your suspect(s), you need to work out what their motive might have been. What did they want the lumpfish for – and why?

Step Three:

How did your suspect(s) carry out the crime? And what did they want the fish for? Consider the evidence again: the room was locked, and all of the fish counted each night. How did your suspect(s) get in? Were they helped by anyone? What is the significance of the water on the floor?

(If you have time, write your detective deductions out in a paragraph summarizing how you worked it out!)

GOOD LUCK TEAM CARDEN PRIMARY!

I can’t wait to hear how you go about solving this local mystery. Who you put in the frame, why they did it and how!

 

WHALE obviously Team Carden really took the oppor-TUNA-ty and to show of their BRILL-iant detective GILLS. (sorry) Have a looks at their fantastic work here and why not have a go at seeing if you can solve the FISHtery yourselves!

 

So how did you all get on? I have to say us at AAA HQ were flummoxed!

Fortunately Imogen didn’t leave us with the mystery unsolved…. read on if you want to find out what happened….

The True Suspect of the 1873 Case of the Missing Lumpfish was… (Open envelope…)

Answer: The Octopus! (All the other suspects were made up!)

Octopuses are highly intelligent and clever creatures. The one they have in the aquarium nowadays is given Lego blocks and a rocking horse to play with to keep him entertained!

Octopuses can breathe and move out of water for short periods of time and they have the ability to camouflage themselves into their environment – their very own cloak of invisibility. They can also crawl through tiny spaces and squirt out ink – a super villain indeed!

(They also happen to be one of my favourite creatures.)

The octopus in question was a new resident in the room at the aquarium. Each night, under cloak of darkness, he would slip free from his tank and dine on the delicious lumpfish. But by morning, before daybreak, he’d have slunk back inside to his tank looking totally innocent. No one suspected him at all – or realised he could survive out of water and leave his tank. It was only when a worker at the aquarium turned up earlier than usual and caught the octopus red handed inside the lumpfish’s tank that the mystery was finally solved!

So, the water trail in the room was him crawling around.

The suspect’s motive: because he was hungry. And the reason the octopus snuck back each night was because octopuses are nocturnal, so their natural behaviour is to hunt by night, returning to their lairs during the hours of daylight to sleep! So, after all that, the octopus was just behaving normally…

Case solved! I bet your versions of this event are even crazier, and I can’t wait to hear them.

If you are interested in finding out more about the real event, you can find an account here:http://thegentlemanangler.com/fish-species/disappearing-lump-fish-2/1339/

What an amazing task – the Carden really loved this one! We can’t wait for the next instalment!

Team AAA
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Alex Milway: “I stay young by eating all my greens and vegetables!”

Gecko and Iguana classes have really enjoyed drawing Pigsticks – they got in touch with Alex with some comments on their last task.

Dear Alex,

Thank you for your email.

Here are some things we loved about drawing Pigsticks:

C : I love how we could draw our own clothes

S : I loved how simple it was so we could all make it look like him!

We LOVED your drawings of Pigsticks in his own clothes too!

The classes sent Alex some brilliant questions last week and never one to shy away from being quizzed, he responded….

Dear Gecko and Iguana!

Some answers to your questions.

How do you stay looking so young (we have found a picture of you on the internet!)?

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HAHA! I stay young by eating all my greens and vegetables. As you all should.

Do you work in an office or somewhere else like in bed? Who cleans up when it gets messy?

I work in an office at the top of my house. I have a nice desk, with my drawing stuff and computer, next to all my musical instruments. I love to play music and make things! And I have to tidy it up, of course, although I’m not necessarily the best at that. I still get told off for being messy.

How many people are there in your family? Do you ever get ideas for your characters from them?

There are four of us – my wife and two daughters, not to mention a cat and a dog! And they’re enough trouble for anyone. So yes, I get loads of ideas from them. 

How many books have you written in total?

I’m now working on my 12th! It’s a book called Hotel Flamingo, all about a girl who runs an animal hotel. I’ve attached an early version of the cover for you to see!

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Now, the challenge for this week!

I’ve attached a short comic I made of Pigsticks and Harold, and this week I would like you to make a short funny Pigsticks and Harold comic of your own. I’ve attached a template of panels you can use if you’d like. The key to making comics is to make them simple! Pick a very little story, such as getting to school, or brushing your teeth, or eating lunch, and try to make a funny short comic about it. The sillier the better! You could even base it on a joke, such as a “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke.

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Pigsticks and Harold can be very silly, so really go wild.

Use speech bubbles (always write the words first before you draw the bubble!), sound effects, and just make it as bright as possible.

This one might take some time to work out, but I know you can all draw, so you’ll do fine!

I’m off on my own adventure to China this week, so have a great Easter, and we’ll speak soon.

Thanks!

Alex, Pigsticks and Harold

We can’t wait to see what silly scenes the children create!

Happy Easter hols

Team AAA
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Mile Oak’s Creative Characters!

Year 6 Mile Oak are a very inquisitive and a very talented bunch of adoptee’s! They are all really enjoying Wild boy and had some fantastic questions for Rob Lloyd Jones…..

Why did you chose to set it in the Victorian times? (Fahimur)

Because that’s when freak shows really did exist – they were banned in 1851, so I needed the story to happen before that date

Where did you get your character ideas from? (Julia)

Mostly history books! Wild Boy is based on several real life characters!

How did you come up with the idea of Wild Boy? (Alfie M and Charlie)
What is your inspiration for the book? (Daria and Fahim) 

I was inspired by history, my love of London and also my love of detective stories – especially Sherlock Holmes!

Why a hairy boy? (Donnie and Luke )
How did you get the idea of Wild Boy and his features? (Daniel) 

It’s a real disease called hypertrichosis – which many freak show performers did actually have. It seemed right for the character.

Where did you get the name Wild Boy from? (Luca and Rachel ) 

I can’t remember – sometimes names just pop into your head! It seemed like a good one when I first thought of it, and it just stuck.

Why did you make Sir Oswald have no legs? I like that you did this because it is not cliche. (Leo) 

He’s a survivor of a famous battle called the Battle of Waterloo, and was hit by a cannon and lost his legs.

Very descriptive and interesting, suspense is displayed amazingly especially with the cloud, as it seems like a snake or creature going around the town. (Fahimur) 

Thank you! I’m glad you like it so far!

I like the way you used short sentences because it builds a lot of suspense and interest (Julia)

YES, well spotted! It’s good to mix sentence length – short and long, so they’re not all the same.

I like the description of the fog rolling into the city. (Leo) 

Thank you Leo!

I like the fact that Wild Boy can read people and say what happened in their life. (Daniel) 

Great! I hope you enjoy the rest of the story…

I am enjoying the book so far because it has kept me on edge and the suspense was really cold through: suspense, metaphors, gruesome descriptions, personification and short sentences. (Kai)

That’s great Kai, thank you. It was important to work on this details very hard to get them right.

I think the book is fantastic and it is so mysterious e.g the workhouse mystery. Sofia 

Thanks Sofia!

I like how you made it sound creepy to build suspense. It’s an incredible book because it has so much description. (Harry) 

Thanks Harry!!

It is exciting and extremely enjoyable. I really like that Wild Boy and Oswald have a connection. I am very connected and pulled in by the book. (Seb) 

Thank you Seb! Hope you enjoy the rest of the story…

I like the way you used short sentences and personification. I like how you slowly started to describe Wild Boy. (Maia) 

Yes, thanks Maia – I needed to introduce him slowly to the readers, so it’s not too much in one go.

You created amazing suspense and excitement by putting short sentences, alliteration, description and personification. I loved every single bit right down to the letter because of how you build up the descriptions. (Fahim) 

Thanks Fahim! Really hope you enjoy the rest of the story!

 

Last week Rob asked the class to create their very own characters…
These characters are amazing – love the drawings too! We could imagine all of them appearing in published books! Fantastic work Year 6 Mile Oak!
Team AAA
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Pictures of Pigsticks

Gecko and Iguana class are really enjoying their Pigsticks and Harold journey so far and this week they posed some interesting questions to their author Alex Milway…

Is it hard work being an author? 

I love being an author, it’s so much fun, but yes it can be hard work. Not only is it writing books, which can be tricky – as I’m sure you all know, writing can be difficult sometimes – but it’s also the marketing of your work, the keeping happy when things don’t always go your way, and of course coming up with new ideas! That’s hard in itself. And that’s not mentioning the drawing side of it! Yikes, illustrating is even harder than writing.

Do you write about other characters or just Pigsticks and Harold? 

I’ve written books about yetis, called the Mythical 9th Division, and I’ve also written the Mousehunter series which is based in a world where there are thousands of different species of mice!

Do you get tired when you write a chapter books?

Sometimes. I plan everything very well, so I tend to leave nothing to chance. Each chapter is plotted beforehand so I can dip into parts of the book I want to write when I’m in the mood. Usually, I pick the harder scenes for when I’m in the mood, and the easier ones when I’m not.

And last but not least, how many times do you read and check your story?

Hundreds, in all likelihood. And even then you always find mistakes, or things you’d like to change once it’s published.

And this week’s challenge!

After all those amazing drawings of Harold you made last week, I’m going to ask you to learn how to draw Pigsticks.  Have fun with him – add clothes, or whatever you fancy to make your character stand out.

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And then, once you mastered Pigsticks, you’ll be ready for next week’s challenge.

Thank you so much for those amazing drawings, they were utterly brilliant! Keep up the good work!

Alex

Let’s just say that Benfield Year 3 are a pretty talented bunch – check out their amazing drawings of Pigsticks! And look! – Step aside Prince Harry and Megan Markle – the wedding of the year has to be the Pigsticks wedding!

Alex was SUPER IMPRESSED…..and cracked on with answering some more of Iguana and Gecko’s brilliant questions!

Dear Iguana and Gecko!

These are AMAZING Pigsticks drawings. Absolutely brilliant!

Some answers to your questions!

Do you giggle to yourself when you write something funny? We laughed so much at the toilet queue part!

YES! I always enjoy the bits when a joke appears or fits into the storyline. One of my best friends is an author/illustrator called Gary Northfield, and we always laugh lots, particularly at silly jokes – and making up silly jokes. We sometimes do events together, and a few years ago we did one where he dressed up as a Zebra in a Gladiator outfit and I was a Warthog. It was so much fun.

Did you try out any other jobs before you decided to be an author?

I went to art school – I wanted to be either in a band, or an artist – but I ended up getting a job working on a magazine. I was a sub-editor, which is the person who checks all the words, and layouts for mistakes. While there I wrote my first book, which was the Mousehunter. I loved working on a magazine, but there’s nothing better than being self employed and being in charge of your own work – and time – no matter how difficult it can be at times.

Who is your favourite – Pigsticks or Harold and why? Jasmine: My favourite is Pigsticks because he is super brave!

They are both my favourite! I say this because I think I am equal parts Pigsticks and Harold. Some days I’m full of beans and want to climb the nearest mountain, other days I just want to sit and read a book!

In your story Pigsticks and Harold travel to the jungle. Have you ever traveled anywhere before.

And I’ve travelled a bit – though nowhere quite as exciting as a jungle. I’ve been to Japan and Australia, and I’ve been to China a few times. One of the most amazing landscapes I’ve seen was in the USA, when I spent a week in the Rocky Mountains. That was amazing. One day, I would love to travel north and see the Northern Lights.

We love the sound of the Zebra in a Gladiator outfit – great inspiration for the next fancy dress party!

Great work Iguana and Gecko class! See you next week!

Team AAA
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Carden’s BADDIES! *READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*

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Week 2 of Adopt an Author and Rose Muddle Mysteries author Imogen White didn’t hold back in encouraging Carden’s Year 6 to unlock their creative bad side…

Task Two is all about BADDIES! I want you to think about what makes them tick… what makes them bad… and most importantly of all what is their weakness. All great baddies need a weakness.

I LOVE writing baddies, and I have quite a few in my books. I have the ancient warlord Verrulf, the dastardly members of the Brotherhood of the Black Sun and the perfectly ‘perfect’ Missy, who looks like butter wouldn’t melt, but is in fact properly NASTY!

Eeeeek! I don’t know about you but I’m sensing we need to prepare ourselves for some bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad B.A.D eggs to appear before us… Any. Minute.

Team Carden Baddie Discussion:

Before you get stuck into creating your own baddie, take a moment to talk about the kind of book villains you love to hate! What makes them such fabulous villains for you? What do they look like? What does their name make you think of? What motivates them?

To help you along, here is a list of the top ten children’s book villains voted in a poll by National Book Tokens to celebrate World Book Day this year:

Top 10 Most Evil Villains
Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter series)
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series)
Cruella de Vil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians)
The White Witch (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)
Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter series)
Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist)
The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
Count Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Which one is your favourite? Or, are there some others that aren’t on this list?

Voldemort is probably one of my favourite baddies of all time. From his bald head and slit-like nostrils, he commands any room he walks into… Yikes!

He is so evil that he would kill at will – in fact, he was even prepared to kill a baby.

Why do you think Voldemort became the way he is? What made him so bad? Or, was he always like this?

My thoughts: Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as he was, started off in a terrible orphanage where no one really cared for him. Maybe he might have been ‘brilliant’ in a different way if the start of his life had been better? Who knows…

I see Dolores Umbridge is on this list too. Wow! What a super villain she is! I love how she seems so nice, all dressed in pink and her passion for adorable kittens! And her sweetness and light voice – always smiling, even when she is saying or doing something utterly horrid!

Villains that seem like they are one thing – but then turn out to be something else, I think work really well.

What other characters can you think of that are like this? Perhaps you can find some on the list?

Now it’s time to create your own baddies…

I would like you to create your very own BADDIES! I want to see an army of them, and I want them BADDER THAN BAD!

These baddies could be used in the story you started last week, or they could be developed for use in another story.

By the end of this task, you should have a dastardly, but believable, baddie of your very own.

To make a really believable baddie, there are a few things to think about. See if you can answer these questions:

Q1: What is your baddie called?

Try and choose a memorable name, that might also give away a bit about their character. I think all my mother-in-law’s friends all sound like baddies, because they give each other funny nicknames! Perhaps some of these might inspire you…

Pat the Hat, Pick Axe Pat, Scary Mary, John the Scissors, (because he is a barber) Gappy Pete, Jack the Frame (he is an artist,) The Duke, Race Along Rita, and Hairy Harry.

You can see that lots of them rhyme or have alliteration, which makes them memorable! You can use one of these if you like or make up one of your own.

Q2: Does your baddie have special powers?

You can go really wild here! Do they have laser eyes, for example? Can they fly? Are they incredibly strong? When they eat nuts, do they turn into a squirrel? The wackier the better, I think…

It might be fun to tie these powers into their name? Hairy Harry for example, might have a massive beard that he hides things in? Racy Along Rita might run really fast…

(If you are following on from your opening last week, you may want to connect them to your found object – perhaps, your baddie is after it? Or scared of it?)

Q3: What does your baddie want to achieve – what is their goal?

What is your baddie’s end goal? World domination is always a popular one, but you could choose anything – and it’s good to think about the world that they’re operating in. Do they want to steal money, gold, or lots of chocolate? Do they want to become your headteacher and take over the school? Are they trying to kidnap your granny? Or do they want to become Prime Minister?

Or, again, you might like to think how you could tying this in to your previous story?

Q4: Where does your baddie come from?

Maybe they come from space? Or another country, another time in history? Or from your freezer! – you could choose absolutely anything. I’d like to see some really crazy ideas for this!

Q5: What does your baddie look like?

What do they wear? How do they speak? Do they appear to be really nice and normal – but it’s only to hide their more sinister side? Or perhaps they sport a super-villain costume?

Q6: What made your baddie so bad?

Were they born bad? Or did something happen to make them the way they are? Have a think, a good back story really helps to make your baddie believable, and also helps you to understand them more. You can have a think back to some of the villains we talked about above too, and what their backgrounds were.

Q7: What is their weakness?

As you discussed earlier, your baddie having a weakness really helps them come to life. And it also gives your main character a chance to overcome them.

By the way, if I was a baddie, my weakness would be mayonnaise! I can’t abide the stuff. (I’m shuddering at the very thought!)

And that’s it! Hopefully by the end of this you will have developed your very own CARDEN PRIMARY BADDIE ARMY! Scary stuff indeed…

GOOD LUCK Carden Primary – I can’t wait to meet your baddies!

*Rushes off to hide…*

*cowering in the corner* is it safe to come out????!!!!! Well no. quite frankly it isn’t and quite frankly if you are of a nervous disposition, you might want to look away now…. because Carden have created some of the baddest creatures in the cosmos  (be brave be brave and please please don’t give us nightmares!!!)

 

 

We are all a bit terrified and hope never to encounter the Black Knight, Bad Bob, Snaky Saisha, Dead Beatrice and the rest of the horrifying gang IRL.

Equally frightened was Imogen….

WOW! I am so super impressed by the work you did on this task! The amount of creativity and ideas you showed when developing your own baddies totally blew me away! You are all really great storytellers. Huge congratulations!

(Your baddies actually gave me goosepimples!)
I have written each of you a little note on your work…

Oo, ‘Black Beard.’ A great name! How sad that Bob, (as he was previously known!) was badly bullied and called a nerd – this made me feel sorry for him and gave the character more depth, and therefore more believable. Great stuff!
But then… Bob got so annoyed he began to change… His blue eyes turned dark red. Yikes! And his hair too. I love the idea of him running to his garage as the full change takes control, and hebecomes…
Black Beard! (Did he ever get a black beard by the way?) Oh, my word, he really does go bonkers doesn’t he! I’m terrified of him!

Best of all I love that his weakness is HOTDOGS! – who would have thought! I really loved the addeddetail of, ‘especially those with mustard in!’ I am so glad you gave Black Beard a weakness, so someone can overcome him – otherwise I would have sleepless nights! Great task work here. Well done!

‘The Black Knight’ sounds really dastardly! I loved his red eyes, and how you had developed a nemesis for him, ‘The Red Knight.’ Excellent!
You also gave him a really great backstory about why he became so bad. How he failed in a knight mission – an event he never recovered from. This detail really helped me understand why he became the way he is, making him more believable as a character. You followed this task perfectly.
BRILLIANT work!

Sintha Star is very disturbing! Well done! I loved how she isn’t normal because she is from Mars! Ace! And her big hair, and her ‘cold soul eyes like ice’ – what a fabulous description. Really impressed! And then, you managed to introduce your ‘orb’ from the previous task too! Full marks. What a great story!

‘Snaky Saisha is really cold blooded.” This opening line had me hooked straight away! Fabulous. And I loved the alphabet part, where she could say all the letters perfectly until she got to ‘s’, Ssssss. This idea was really in keeping with her snaky character – which I thought was brilliant! I felt really sorry for her when her classmates were mean to her – and then she turned BAD! This backstory gave your baddie real depth. Well done, you totally nailed this task!

I loved the way you described your baddie, ‘Dead Beatrice.’ A teenager with ‘royal red hair,’ and, ‘sky blue eyes,’ and how you made her complexion spotty and that she wore a long black leather coat. I can totally visualize her. Fantastic work!

But, WOW, didn’t she turn spectacularly BAD! Doing away with her own mother! YIKES! That is sooo BAD!
You also managed to give her a weakness – that being ‘Love.’ But more than that, it was a teenager type of love – falling for a boy, which again is in keeping with her character. Well done you. Great work!
Then, to top it all off, you managed to include your ‘bronze amulet’ from last week! Totally brilliant! And Dead Beatrice’s goal is world domination – NO! (I am quaking in my boots!) – thank goodness you gave her that weakness, so someone could overcome her! Super, fabulous work!

I really like how you started up your story, “…when something happened…” It certainly made me want to read on!
The Red Knight sure did have a sad start to life, which made me feel sorry for him. But now he’s gone BAD, all down to that fantastic sword you created last week! The one from The Fire Age! Brilliant work. The Red Knight is now half black and half red, equally full of darkness and death. He really is a proper sounding baddie, well done! You also managed to include his motivations – getting that sword back! – which is also his weakness. Excellent.
My favourite bit was how he graffitied the word ‘MAD,’ all over his castle – ‘The Tilted Towers.’ Ha! I love this – what a nutcase! You have totally nailed this task. Brilliant!

‘Bad Bob’ – a great baddie name! Very memorable. I love how he wasn’t always bad… once he was just Bob! This really made me laugh! I’m glad his mother at least loved him. Until… he went on that school trip to that chemical plant! And you left me on the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers… Bob stuck in that vat of chemicals… Oh no! My word, I so want to know what happened next. I love Bob already. Great work, and nice clear story telling. Fabulous!

‘Stealer Sam’ is a great baddie name. I felt so bad for him being sent to the orphanage – not because he didn’t have family, but because his parents couldn’t get a big enough family home to keep him. This is so sad – it made me feel really sorry for him. Great work on this backstory! But, who could have thought that a bite from his cute, fluffy pet mouse, ‘Bubbles,’ could have had such an effect on Sam. This part is totally brilliant! Because, the next day he transformed into Stealer
Sam – his hair turned black, he was now wearing a black cloak, and, (my favourite detail…) bright blue trousers. He felt very ANGRY!
I found your story totally fabulous, and I so want to know more about Bubbles the mouse. Where on earth is he from and how comes he has these devastating powers? Does he have an outfit too? I loved it, well done!

Mystery Mark – is a totally great name, it makes me immediately intrigued. I love how no one sees him or what he’s up to. These traits suit his name perfectly. Ace.
Mystery Mark started out so nice, didn’t he? But then he went from being bullied to becoming a bully himself. Very sad – and a great backstory.
Well done for bringing in the Sarsen Stone from last week’s task. But, I was interested to know whether Mystery Mark felt drawn to touch the stone in the museum – is that why he broke the glass? I really love this and want to know what exactly happened when he touched it. This is such an intriguing idea and his character is wonderful. Best of all, for me, is that the only way to overcome Mystery Mark is to talk very calmly to him, even when he is shouting and being very
angry. Excellent! (Another thing I thought of, with his name being ‘Mystery Mark,’ I wondered whether maybe he could have a symbol of some sort? An actual mystery mark of his very own, perhaps have it on his top or something? What do you think?)
I love your amazing ideas. Well done!

Your baddie, ‘Tigger Tiger’ is a nasty teacher – I love how her name sounds all friendly and nice, when really, she is dangerous!
Wow! Excellent detail about her being so hungry at the orphanage that she would escape at night and hunt like a tiger. I love how this detail ties in with her name.
And Tigger Tiger is after the magic zoo book you found in task one! Well done for getting this in. I am very intrigued to find out what happens next! Fantastic.

Great idea having your baddie, ‘Tragic Trophy,’ starting off good but explaining how his dastardly parents sent him bad!
And well done too on getting your magic trophy involved from last week’s task! I love the trophy’s magic powers – how it can give its owner the ability to mind read. Ace. And also arm cannons and makes them able to fly! Wow – I can totally see why his evil parents want it so badly! Great work!

‘Dimond is an evil woman,’ – oo, I love this straight away!
I adore Dimond’s costume she wore before she turned bad: pigtails, dungarees and pink glasses! – I can really see this in my mind. Brilliant!
Great idea that the Science Fair turned her bad too.
Dimond being trapped in a ship bottle is a very interesting idea – a bit like a genie? But then, she snuck off each night to burgle rich people’s jewels. But, best of all, I LOVE how only mustard can defeat her! Ha! Brilliant! A great task!

‘Deadly Dan,’ – I think is a great and memorable baddie name. I love the set up of Deadly Dan being rich and owning everything he ever wanted. And, I really like dogs being his weakness – I think you could have a lot of fun with this! Especially as it’s a dog that runs off with the family’s money! (is this the moment he cracks and becomes Deadly Dan?) A great start here – with some fabulous ideas!

‘Miss Bee likes eating humans…’ What an opening line – I was totally hooked! Well done. She’s a human bee – who looks like an ordinary girl. A genius idea. I love it. (I really want to know what she wears? In my mind she wears a yellow and black stripy jumper!)

Then she eats her friends and they become her worker bees – which is frightening and brilliant! – I love how the facts of your story reflect real bee behaviour. It is quite a horror story, isn’t it! You certainly have a very brilliant imagination! Great stuff!

‘Mal’s’ back story about how her best friend’s betrayal and her brother’s death is so very sad! I was really impressed that you got in your bracelet from last week’s task! Excellent. I really want to know how this bracelet is going to make her all powerful, so she can take her revenge and rule the world – Mwa-ha- haha!
I loved how you made her allergic to prawns, and I did wonder if her best friend, (who betrayed her,) would know this and perhaps use it against her? – what do you think? Fabulous work!

‘Keeper Kev,’ is a great name! I love how you chose him because you are a goalkeeper! (I thought he was going to go around keeping everything he found when I first heard his name! – I like your idea much more.) Poor Keeper Kev getting bullied like that. I felt so sorry for him, especially because the teachers didn’t
help him at all. But, WOW, that magic potion turned things around for him, didn’t it?
I totally adore his super long arms and legs – a brilliant goalkeeper super power to get hold of! FANTASTIC! I love how no one can get a goal against him. Ha!
I’m not sure if Keeper Kev is a baddie or not? Because, I really like him and want him to succeed. (Although putting salad cream in my sandwiches, as he did to the others, would floor me – what with my mayonnaise problem!) But, what you have created is a fantastic character in Keeper Kev. He is really well thought out and I am super impressed! Well done you!

I love your description of your baddie ‘Marv’s’ hair – ‘black like tarmac.” A great description. I also enjoyed how you gave Marv, a button nose and blue eyes – he sounds cute and harmless. But looks can be deceptive, because he is really evil! A great contrast here – well done! Well done too for getting your magic football back in from last week! The one found at the Waterhall that smelt of wet dog! (I loved that description!) What I wanted to know at the end, was how Marv uses the powers of his teleporting football to his advantage? – To become, perhaps, an even bigger villain? Well done – I really enjoyed this!

I love how colourful your baddie, ‘Silly Billy’s’ clothes are. And, wow! that cup of coffee really did transform him into someone evil and angry, didn’t it? I love how he wants that magic teleporting football to himself! (The one that you cleverly included from last week’s task!) His weakness of tomato sauce made me laugh too! I think you could have a lot of fun with this! I must say, you have really lovely handwriting! And your story has some super ideas. I really want to know how Silly Billy would use that teleporting football now! Well done!

Ooo…’Deathsythe’ – what a fabulous baddie name. I love his black hair and purple eyes – they totally compliment his name, don’t they? I want to know where that transforming purple cloud came from? It’s brilliant! Oh. My. Word. Deathsythe eats human shadows? – erm, yes please! This is totally fantastic! I love it.
I really want to read on and discover how Deathsythe gets defeated now! A really BRILLIANT idea. A massive thumbs up from me!

Super brilliant work from my super brilliant Adopt an Author Team at Carden Primary!

You have developed an army of truly terrifying baddies. Full of interesting backstories that explain why your baddies became the way they are. And amazing evil super powers and objects – and some really inventive weaknesses too. You have really impressed (and terrified!) me this week. Wonderful!

Wow Carden amazing work! We can’t wait to see what you’ve in store for us next week!

Team AAA
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The Stanford Beetle Brigade BEGINS!

The Stanford Beetle Brigade are ready and reporting for their duties! And it didn’t take long for their adoptee officer M.G. Leonard to set this eager lot some brilliant Beetle Boy tasks!

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You’ve got to really know your beetles, so M. G. Leonard asked everyone to create a fun filled beetle fact file!

Dear Maya
We were really over-joyed when we received our first e-mail. We have been busy creating our beetle fact files….

Stanford Beetle Brigade = experts in beetles! Have a look at some of their lovely work!

 

 

With their heads full of beetle facts they turned their attention to M. G. Leonard’s own beetle passion with some questions for her….

What made you interested in beetles?

Does your whole family like beetles?

Do you have any pet beetles?

How long have you been interested by beetles?

What is your favourite book that you have written?

What is your favourite beetle?

Are you thinking of writing any more books?

We hope you like the work we have sent you so far and we are looking forward to seeing what’s next.

We are enjoying the book so far!

Thank you for letting us adopt you!

Best beetle wishes

Stanford beetle brigade!

Stay tuned for M. G Leonard’s answer’s and more superb work from Stanford Juniors!

Team AAA
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PIGSTICKS AND HAROLD!

Benfield’s Gecko and Iguana class will be getting to know everything Pigsticks and Harold with author Alex Milway over the next few weeks and we can’t wait to join them on their adventure….

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Dear Gecko and Iguana Class!

Alex here, I hope you are all well! It’s so great to be able to talk about Pigsticks and Harold with you. I’ve got loads of great things planned over the coming weeks, but rest assured, by the end of it you’ll  know and awful lot about them!
So, to start with, I thought It would be great to give you a very quick drawing lesson. I intentionally made Harold very simple to draw, mainly because I had to draw him so often. It can get tiring very quickly if you draw comics, and you have to draw someone over and over again!
I’ve attached a guide on how to draw him, so this week I would love you all to have a go. Give him a hat, or dress him up as you like. And if you want to draw him in a landscape or a room, or a setting from the book, that would be brilliant. Don’t hold back! You could even draw a speech bubble and make him say something. What might Harold say?
Most importantly, have fun with him. He looks very good in a tutu.
Thanks everyone,
Alex
draw harold

Dear Alex,

We are writing to you from all the Geckos and Iguanas. We are excited to be working with you because this afternoon we read some of your pages and we really like Harold and Pigsticks. Geckos particularly liked the pages with lots of smaller pictures and labels as we could all have a go at reading them. Iguanas were really laughing about the animal who thought he was in the toilet queue! We have all managed to draw Harold…..

And some new creations from Gecko Class  – Harold’s mum, sister and baby!

We love these drawings and especially being introduced to members of Harold’s family!

Check back soon to see what Alex thought of the brilliant drawings and what task he sets next!

Team AAA
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WILD BOY!

Mile Oak, Year 6 already have their heads firmly stuck in Rob Lloyd Jones’ brilliant book Wild Boy!
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Rob kicked off by asking the class ‘what is your favourite story and why’ –  we’re intrigued! Let’s have a little look……

‘What is my favourite story and why’

I really enjoyed reading your answers, and especially how many of you told me not just about the lot of your favourite stories, but also how your favourite stories make you feel.  You were excited, intrigued, thrilled – which are all big emotions!

Good stories are full of different feelings – anger, excitement, sadness, happiness, relief and lots more. Authors use those feelings to draw the readers into the story, and make have empathy for the main characters.  Once a reader feels for the characters, they want to follow them through all their adventures and will be totally gripped by the story.

A lot of you also talked about your favourite character in those stories, which is great! Character is SO important – as we’ll learn from the next exercise.

Several of you talked about CHARACTERS in your replies – which was really great! Kai, Julia, Harry, Rachel and Mia – as well as whoever wrote about Midnight Gang (sorry your name wasn’t on the reply)  – your answers were especially great, because you spoke about characters. Usually you like a story because you like the characters, or hate the characters – or find them funny. Characters are KEY to story telling.

So I thought I’d give you another little task.  Now that you know how books can make you feel, and how authors use feelings to make you like their characters, I want to think a bit more about the actual characters.  So think of your favourite character in any story – and describe that character in one or two sentences. You can write what they look like, but it’s more important to describe what sort of person they are. It doesn’t have to be the hero in a story – it could be a villain, or just a small character in a book that you particularly remember.

Thanks! Rob

Check in next week to see which characters Year 6 go crazy for!
Team AAA
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The Amber Pendent

We are SO EXCITED that it’s the first week of 2018’s AMAZING Adopt an Author project! We will be eavesdropping on the conversations between classes and their adopted authors and sharing some spectacular work right here – so settle down and come take a peek…..

Carden’s first week of Adopt an Author has been brilliant, Year 6 have kicked off the conversation with their author Imogen White and they are getting to know each other really well! They’ve exchanged a fantastic task and we’re already blown away by the amazing work they’ve completed!

Here’s the Rose Muddle Mysteries author Imogen White saying a big HELLO!

Hello Team Carden Primary!

I am so excited to have you as my Adopt an Author team! I love this picture of you all! 😊

Team Carden Primary

The Amber Pendant is the first book in The Rose Muddle Mysteries. It is based around your area in Brighton and Hove!

This week we are going to think about: Found things. Buried things. Magic things.

When I write, I use local history for inspiration. I feel like a detective sniffing out clues about the past. In fact, rather than ‘Local History’ – I like to think of it as ‘Local Mystery.’

This once-buried object, Hove’s Amber Cup, inspired me to write The Rose Muddle Mysteries. It’s 3,500 years old! But it looks like a teacup, doesn’t it?

Hove’s Amber Cup: (Picture credit: Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove)

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You can see this cup displayed at the Hove Museum. It was discovered in the Victorian times, beneath a massive burial mound (which looked like a hill, around twenty-foot-high – so probably taller than your school!)

When the Victorians flattened the burial mound in 1856 to build the houses near Palmeira Square, they discovered the skeleton of a Bronze Age person. From the goods that were arranged in the grave, they realized that this person must have once been very important. And in amongst these things, was the amber cup.

I wonder how the workman felt who discovered all these things? I am imagining a sea mist sweeping in on an early winter’s morning, when a worker’s spade suddenly hits something solid – something wooden… (Apparently the coffin turned to dust when it was exposed to the air, revealing the bones inside… Spooky!)

Once all the valuable objects were removed from the grave, the bones were just dumped with the topsoil to make up the gardens of Palmeira Square. So, the next time you wander through there, just remember those bones are still there somewhere!

When I found all this out, I couldn’t stop thinking about who this forgotten person might have been? And why were they buried with this cup? And that’s how The Amber Pendant and The Rose Muddle Mysteries began!

As well as local history, I like to include lots of magical objects in my books. In The Amber Pendant, Hove’s Amber Cup contains ancient and dark magic. And my heroine, Rose Muddle, who is plucked from the workhouse, inherits a pendant that gives her special abilities too.

But, I want to know what magical object you would like to find and what it would do? So…

First Task: Imagine you have found a magic object!

  1. Choose an object:

What exactly is your object? – it could be anything. Is it old? New? Broken? Maybe it smells of something? Write a sentence describing it.

  1. Give it magic!

What magical powers might your object have? (I love this bit!) Does it contain good or bad magic? Maybe it gives its owners special abilities? Write a sentence describing its magic, and what it can do.

  1. Where do you find your object?

Maybe you found the object in your school, in your back garden, or even washed up on the beach. It can be anywhere – you decide. Write a sentence describing where you found your magic object.

  1. Let the story begin!

Now that you have settled on all the ideas above. (And if you have time!) I’d like you to bring them all together and to write about the moment you found your object, using all the details you have decided upon above. Try and add as much atmosphere and description as you can.

Remember to include Whereyou found it, what it is and what it looks like.

How do you feel when you discover it? Are you excited? Scared? Anxious? Intrigued?

What does it feel like to hold? Is it rough? Smooth? Does it vibrate or do something unusual? Do you think it might be magic straight away? If so, why?

And, if you can, try to leave it on a cliffhanger!

If you can bring all these parts together, you should find you have a pretty ace opening to your own book! I really hope you enjoy the task – and I can’t wait to hear how you all get on.

GOOD LUCK CARDEN PRIMARY!

Speak soon,

Imogen 😊

And well, let’s just say Team Carden Primary were up to Imogen’s challenge – check out these AMAZING magical objects…!

Imogen was super impressed….

Wow! Carden Primary – what extraordinary objects you imagined finding, and I loved the descriptions, magical powers and cliffhangers! I was on the edge of my seat! So much talent and creative ideas. I have written a little message for each of you:

Tommy
What a great idea to have a football that upgrades to a new one each time you kick it! I like that it was a bit old and stinky when you first found it. I think that would be a very brilliant football to have it, as it would always the very latest model! Great idea.

Tamsin
A diamond encrusted, golden orb – with magic strong enough to make you telepathic, sound great! I love the image of you finding it in the forest and your hands were trembling when you held it. And then the spooky vision at the end, of the abandoned house all dusty and cobwebbed – what a cliffhanger! Excellent.

Eva
I loved your dancing shoes! And the way you described the moon glinting on the
crashing waves, and the wind blowing you hair – great atmosphere building writing! PS I want those shoes! Do they make you dance well? – I can’t dance at all!

Billy
A football with dark magic – I’m hooked straight away! And it can transport you to other places – I wonder where it would take you? And you found it in a graveyard. So, so cool. I think you could have a lot of fun with this story. Love it.

Firyal
A pencil that brings your drawings to life is extremely exciting. I also loved your
description of the basement: Dark with creaking floorboards! Yikes!

Harrison CM
A ‘glimmering trophy’ that you found in the forest. Love this – its like a chalice, and there are lots of old legends about such things – like King Arthur. A very magical and brilliant idea.

Harrison G
Your football sounds great! It transports you to wherever you kick it – that could be
really handy! And gosh, it smells of old people’s feet! By the way, I love your description in the graveyard, “There were no cars, no people and no lights…” Really atmospheric.

David
I love the idea of your object, “glowing in a dark purple way.” Very scary sounding. And then it gave you magical armour – I want one! And a great cliffhanger, leaving us with the monsters getting bigger! Yikes!

Ruby
Your idea of a magic, yellow water bottle from the future is very unique. I like how it
never runs out of water and gives you invincibility for two minutes! I wonder how it feels to be invincible?“I walked over to take a look. I could feel the atmosphere change…” Great writing, I definitely wanted to read on – well done Ruby!

Emma
A sparkly pink pen that shoots lasers, burns things and teleports you – what an object! And, hang on a minute – you were reading The Rose Muddle Mysteries in your story! Ha! Wonderful!!

Lewis
Your football smells like a wet dog – yep, that’s stinky!
I love that you found it at Waterhall. Those football pitches always seem so cold and
windy, don’t they? – even when the rest of Brighton isn’t. I always think that place has its own weather system! If your magic football could transport you anywhere – just imagine all the football matches you could sneak in to watch! (Maybe even back in time to when England won the World Cup!)

Fatima
Wow – I love the sound of your diamond necklace that glows at night! And that it always gives you good dreams. I also really liked you finding it down a rabbit hole – a great idea! And, I love your cliffhanger of the voice calling from the bushes. Brilliant!

Lily
A Zoo Book that you found in the school library that smells of animals – genius!
Also, a great idea that it called to you and glowed! I really wanted to read on after your cliffhanger, what did you see??? Excellent!

No Name
A dark red crystal shaped like a glue stick – a great sounding object! Plus, it shoots out magic bolts! And it also gives the owner an armour and sword – are these dark red also? Love that you found this on Halloween. I found the police searching for you in the darkness with searchlights very visual – I could really see that in my mind. Then one goes missing… Really great ideas here. Well done you!

Amy
A dusty, bronze amulet – lovely! And its magic changes the weather – that’s a good idea. Nice cliffhanger too, inside that restricted building… Fabulous!

Harry
My goodness me – a Sarsen Stone! You and me definitely seem to like the same kinds
of things! A magic standing stone that takes you through its history – that is incredibly brilliant. I wonder what secrets it might reveal? “The trees were like goblins.” Wow, such a fabulous description. Then you left me with “I went to touch it…” Brilliant ending. I absolutely want to know more!

Summer
I am loving your idea of a diamond bracelet with the power of invisibility. And having it washed up from the sea is a great place to find it. I also loved your ending, how you put it on, and completely disappeared! Totally fabulous. I wonder what adventures you could get up to with such a thing?

Jake
Is yours a sword that glows when you touch it? I love its magic and how it comes from a time known as The Fire Age. I want to know more about The Fire Age for sure! A great idea. I wonder who this sword once belonged to in The Fire Age?

Elizabeth
Your clock sounds brilliant! So, it starts to glow red when you touch it? That sounds very magical indeed. I wonder if it could send you shooing through time? A great opening to a story. Well done Elizabeth.

Wow! Carden Year 6, you certainly conjured up some pretty special magical objects! Amazing work, we can’t wait for the next instalment!

Love team AAA
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