Back from Australia and back to reality…

Carden Primary have impressed Ashley with their circus acts and its spurred him on to set the next task!

Hi there people,

I’ve come back from Australia now and I’m almost awake at the same time as everybody else.

It was very confusing over there. Not only was it the height of summer, but it was also eight hours in the future, so when you were having your breakfast at 8 o’clock in the morning, I was having afternoon tea at 4pm.

All very odd.

Anyway, home now.

Thank you so much for sending me the brilliant bits of writing and drawing you did last week. Some of them made me laugh a lot.

I thought I’d say a few words about some of my favourites.

I laughed and laughed when I heard about ‘Burt  the Baggiest Boy’ – he takes all his clothes off really quick and does a handstand. It’s not an act I actually want to see, in fact I think I’d probably pay Burt money to not do his act, but I loved the strangeness of it and the chutzpah.

I found Flaming Fire’s act slightly terrifying. I’ve seen fire breathers before, but never one who sets fire to the crowd’s eyes!

Also Tommy the Terrible Terrifier was rather scary too – he sets himself on fire and dives in a pool of sharks and crocodiles. I really liked the audience comments in the drawing for this one.

I also laughed when I read about Lilia the not so Legendary and her jumping through flaming hoops, especially how she always sets fire to her bum because she goes too low through the last hoop!

Solly the Fat made me giggle, because his was one of the few acts that didn’t impress the audience – he eats ten tubs of ice cream in eleven seconds, but the audience boo because the tubs are very small! Brilliant!

You all did great with that bit of work – especially doing the pictures as well and there wasn’t one that didn’t make me smile.

Thank you so much.

Now, you’ve probably read some more of the book since last time I wrote. I hope you’re still enjoying it?

You have probably met some of the animals that live with Fizz in the circus. Charles the lion and maybe Fish the sea lion or possibly Flopples, Dr Surprise’s rabbit?

There are also some other animals who live in Fizz’s circus who might not get mentioned in this book (I forget; they certainly appear in later books in the series), such as Miss Tremble’s horses and some performing dogs and crocodile called Kate.

I think in a circus in a silly book like the one you’re reading, it’s okay to have animals, because I know they’re being well looked after and are loved and (at the end of the day) are made up by me.

Because they’re in a book it means they don’t have to spend the night sleeping in a little cage or being poked with sticks.

In real life, it’s cruel to keep wild animals in small cages and to make them perform (because sometimes people have to be mean to make them learn tricks) – tigers and elephants and lions and the like need more space to roam than a cage.

Because of this most circuses don’t keep wild animals anymore, and this is a good thing for the wild animals. (Dogs, on the other hand, are domesticated animals, which means they like living with people and enjoy showing off.)

 

Here’s a little poem by a poet I like very much called Brian Patten, from a book called Juggling With Gerbils.

 

The Panther’s Heart

 

Although he still pads about behind

The bars of his solitary cage,
Although he still looks up nightly

At the moonstruck mountains

And the falling snow,
The panther’s heart

Stopped long ago.

 

Is it a happy poem or a sad poem? Does the panther like living in the cage? How long do you think he or she’s been there? Were they born in the cage or were they caught by someone?

Have you ever been to a zoo and seen how sad some of the animals look? (Especially the ones who would be out walking miles and miles across plains or through jungles in the wild.)

 

For this week’s little bit of work, I’d like you to imagine you’re an animal that lives in a circus. You could be a big, wild animal like a lion, or a happy little dancing dog, or a stick insect, or a monkey, or an elephant, or a slug in a waistcoat. Anything you can think of.

I want you to imagine it’s night time and you’re asleep. What do you dream of?

And then, when you wake up, what sort of day do you wake up to? What is there to look forward to?

 

For example, if you were thinking of the panther in Brian’s poem, you might say:

 

All through the night I prowl the mountains, moonlight in my eyes, the smell of supper in my nose.

I sense the rabbit up ahead, I pounce, we chase, over rocks and through grass, until finally I leap and crunch!

I wake up and all I can see is the bars of the cage, English rain and my breakfast is a lump of meat that won’t play with me.

 

Or you might want to write about a happier animal, a performing dog, say, who wakes up on his or her owner’s bed, not in a cage.

A circus dog might see other non-circus dogs during its day (does it feel superior because it has a sparkly waistcoat?), but a circus rhino probably won’t – might it imagine it’s the only rhino in the world? How would that make it feel?

When you think about what the animal might dream of – think of the sort of things they might do in the wild, what they eat, where they live, who might be hunting them…

When they wake up, are they happy or sad to be where they are? Might living in the circus be better than the wild? Or do they wish they could escape?

 

See how you get on imagining what it might be like to be a circus animal. It might be a tricky task this one, but give it a go for me.

 

I look forward to seeing what you come up with – I hope it’s not all sad!

 

Until next time,

Ashley

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