Category Archives: Guy Bass

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

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

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

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

Goldstone’s Great Cover Art!

Last week Goldstone’s adopted author Guy Bass received a lovely email from Faiza sharing what she thought of his book Stitch Head and some of their brilliant book covers below!

imgres-1.jpg

Hi Guy,

My name is Faiza. We have read up to chapter 8 in your book and the whole of Year 3,including me, LOVE IT! We have all finished drawing and colouring our covers so we are sending a few of them to you to see what you think about them.

My favourite part of the story so far is when Fulbert Freakfinder came back into the story. I like how you get to the point of the story at the right time.

I also find it really funny how the creature talks and his character. I wonder if Professor Erasmus will remember Stitch Head at a point of the story and be best friends with him again…

We hope you have a nice weekend,

From me, Year 3 and

Claire Winter

Year 3 teacher and Year Group Leader

 

 

So many fantastic Stitch Head book covers! Team AAA think there’s a few budding book designers amongst Year 3! Here are Guy’s thoughts…

Hi Faiza (and all the creations of Year 3),

Hope you’re had a cracking weekend, and this week is turning out to be the best ever.
So, I LOVE your covers. They’re fantastic! Lots of variety in composition and colouring, and it was great to see some of the other characters (as well as a few new ones) thrown in there. I love the fact that Creature, Arabella and Fulbert Freakfinder make a few appearances, and all the new monsters are fabulously foul.
One cover in particular impressed me though. After the first Stitch Head book came out, I talked to the publishers about subsequent covers might look, and one idea I had was an extreme close-up of Stitch Head’s face, blending into shadow. Basically it looked exactly like this in my head:

Inline image 1

So well done to whoever read my mind….! Nice one.
Oh and to add to the excitement, and the Stitch Head illustrator, Pete Williamson popped over today, so I showed him your work – he was very impressed! He especially loved the blood dripping eyeballs and the hanging spiders, so well done to whoever did those.
Well done everyone!

Team AAA x

Creepy Critters at Goldstone

Inspired by the Creature that appears in Guy Bass’ Stitch Head, the Goldstone crew have been busy creating their very own critters this week…. Oliver from Year 3 took some time to share some thoughts with their adopted author…

Hi, I’m Oliver.

I think your story is awesome. I particularly liked it when the Creature hugged Stitch Head so hard that he couldn’t breathe. My class think The Creature is really funny when he gets so over-excited.

We have enjoyed your creature challenge and are sending you a sample of our creativity.

Look forward to your next reply.

Oliver

a02d-sh-10.jpg

We’re pretty freaked out by some of their creations below!

The creature stopped as seventeen monsters crept out of the shadows and stared at the creature. One of the monsters had razor sharp thorns around its head, two spikey chain saws coming from its hips, a dragon spiked tail, and it sounded like a lion’s growl.

Rosie

The creature was startled as a strange, rounded shaped slobbery creature emerged from the gloomy shadows and slowly stepped towards the corner of the moonlit corridor. As the creature’s slimy, damp wings lit up in the dark, its grey antennae on its head shot out electric waves. She shivered as she shuffled towards the other creatures and Stitch Head.

Hana

The creature paused wearily, its ears twitched. Then there was an ear splitting screech. Suddenly, a blockish shape appeared from the pitch black shadows. First huge tentacles with about a million suckers, then an enormous fiery red eye emerged from the shadows into the moonlit hall, which was riddled with ugly monsters. The fiery eye bulged like it was about to pop out with an explosion. The tentacles made a hissing noise as the creature shed black goo as it went.

“Run!” screamed the Creature. “Monster!”

Felix

Stitch Head froze as he heard an enormous rare echoing through the castle. Suddenly he saw a disgusting looking creature lashing out towards him. It was a reindeer headed monkey with repulsive, hairy spider legs. It spat out a ball of slimy hair and took its eyes out so tentacles came out and wrapped them around Stitch Head. He screamed as the creature opened its enormous mouth and did a mighty roar. “Please don’t eat me,” muttered Stitch Head.

Marlie

Stitch Head froze as he heard a huge thump coming from the corridor. Suddenly Stitch Head saw a weird shaped creature racing towards him. Stitch Head fell as it slithered over to him with its spider legs.

It was a weird, slimy and thin creature, with repulsive hairy spider legs with a soggy brain. It gurgled and spat as it made its way through the corridors.

Polly

Stitch Head became petrified when he saw a spectacular beast approach him. It had a twirled mouse-like tail, the size of a personalised 12 inch rope and millions of mites that looked like they would explode and an MS tattoo on his hip which had a crack through and finally a bull-shaped head. It gurgled and splattered some boogies from its abomination of a nose. Stitch Head ran to the door and looked up and screamed so loud that the chandelier broke and smashed as it hit the floor. The bull-mite-mouse-thing slapped him on the cheek. Stitch Head reached desperately for the door as the creature started to strangle him…

Rory P

From the ceiling of the hallway, an unfamiliar lion like creature emerged from the shadows. It had two huge glaring eyes on each leg, arm and body parts. As it slobbered its poisonous blood, it grew like nothing they had seen before.

Matthew

From the corner of the attic, a huge wolf like shadow slowly crept out. It had triangular pointed ears, pointed teeth that were so sharp they would take a finger off in one bite, and its legs were as thin as pipe cleaners. It growled like a tiger and dripped green, slimy acid from its mouth.

Maisie

From behind an old box, out came an invention that the professor Erasmus had made a year ago. It had one bunny ear and one mouse ear that looked rather odd. It was a short, little stubby rabbit, carrying a carrot and its eyes shone in the moonlight like two glass balls. It was short like a mouse and as white as the moon.

Tori

Well done Year 3 – thanks for the brilliant work! – although this blog post should probably have come with a warning – I hope we don’t suffer from any NIGHTMARES – I think the Bull-Mite-Mouse-Thing might haunt me in my sleep!


 

Amazing aliens, a giant rainbow unicorn & cool characters!

Wow, week 2 of AAA and our classes are impressing us and their adopted authors with their creativity!

Ali emailed class 5p at St Lukes’ to share her enthusiasm for her fictitious or fact?! challenge!

Your FACTS all look completely believable. I don’t doubt that Naomie has walked in a jungle, that John has a cat called Mango, that Natty does not not have a pet, that Sami knows how to ride a bike, that Ivy sticks her tongue out when drawing, that Brendan bellyflopped and it didn’t hurt and that Jake has six fingers on his left hand.

I believe ALL of this. The stories were fantastic too.

Naomie, the Ferrari showing up just in the nick of time was excellent. How do you think this happened? Was it complete chance or did Sam have a secret fairy godmother?

John, the miniature alien was inspired. But hey – you went for the old tried and trusted ‘Ooooh – it was ALL a dreeeeeam’ line. COP OUT!

Natty – another alien (you can’t go wrong with aliens) – and THREE GOLD STARS for mentioning a fox called Dax. 😉

Sami – the whole iPhone thing was very believable. Is Sam really going to get a fake plastic one. Can you get such a thing? If not he may have to make one.. out of papier mache or clay or chewed up Haribos…

Brendan. Hmmmm. Vomit. Blood filled eyes. Friends dropping dead. I’m a little concerned. Are your mates edging away from you right now? They should be…

Jake – I love the tension and build up of the demonic thing under the cloth. I’m not sure where the big fat fib comes in but – hey – A trail of sparkly death! What a great line!

My favourite has to be the tomato ketchup beast, though! The kids are thrown backwards, crashing into chairs and tables, knocking over lamps and computers…. tomato ketchup being squirted everywhere. BRILLIANT description, Ivy!

This is all VERY promising.

Breakdancing, bad hair, a giant rainbow unicorn, a soggy phone and a blob fish that goes WOOF are just a few of the themes from the next task Ali set – 5p we LOVE your imaginations!


Miss Liddle from Mile Oak shared the children’s thoughts on Perijee and Me’s first chapter and the mixed reviews about the first draft!

The children said that they prefer how the first chapter is like a flashback to when Caitlin first met Perijee and then it goes back in time to fill in the gaps. They also liked how it ended on a cliff hanger.

  1. Your first draft starts as many other stories do, whereas this one is more unique.
  2. They thought your first draft gave too much away too quickly. In the book we’re reading, you drip-feed us information about Caitlin and her life/family.There were mixed reviews about whether the children would’ve enjoyed the chapter about Caitlin’s school life. Some preferred that you had left that out and that we know that Caitlin is upset due to her actions e.g. smashing the pineapple and crying to Frank. A few children would’ve liked to have known a little about her school life and the children’s reactions to her bringing in a pineapple.It was funny what you said about Caitlin getting annoyed about her name being spelt incorrectly, as we have a Caitlin in our class and she feels the same way.

Ross is delighted that 6L enjoyed his first draft and made a great point – “I hope you can see that even authors start off a little rubbish before they improve!” Thanks for sharing Ross!

From writing to illustration – what a talented bunch! Just look at these amazing aliens!

6L you blew Ross away with these kooky creations and stunning similes!!!

I can’t tell you what a delight it was to open my inbox and find your alien drawings! There were so many different and (let’s be honest, bizarre) varieties of aliens – everything from cute and cuddly to outright disgusting. I loved your use of descriptive similes as well – you’ve clearly been hard at work on your SATS! It’s very hard for me to choose a favourite from so many great drawings but here are some similes I thought were excellent:

  • Nayeema: “swirled patterns as strange as surprises”. LOVE that recurring Sssss sound you make!
  • Evelyn: “heart as sad as the lonely sea at night” Wow! It almost made me feel sorry for the alien despite the fact it’s chopping off someone’s head…
  • Caitlin: “kind as a shy doe” There are lots of “i” sounds in this that make it sound wonderful!
  • Bradley: “horns as pointed as the summit of a mountain” Love this! You could have said “top of a mountain”, but summit sounds so much better (and pointier!)

Next up Ross answered some intriguing questions….

Was Perijee responsible for the storm? (Ellie)
This would be giving everything away! I’m afraid you’ll just have to read on to find out… 

Is the island based on a real place? (Jack)
Good question! I didn’t set out to base it on any place, but I was thinking of remote islands off the coast of Scotland when I started writing it. In fact, in the first draft I used actual place names and the story took place in Scotland! In the end I thought it worked better if it was just a nameless country very much like ours…

The kind of island I was thinking off was a place like the Outer Hebrides – I’ve always wanted to go and finally got to visit last summer! You have to get a boat from another island to get to them – they’re miles away from anything and such a strange, magical place. The water is absolutely freezing – if you look off the coast in one direction the nearest land is the Arctic – but its sky blue, and the island is FILLED with sea lions and crabs and dolphins and thousands of sea birds.

How long have you written books for? (Bilal)

I’ve always written stories because I love doing it – and not just books either! I used to love making comic strips and writing film scripts – in fact, I feel like I learned just as much from comics and films about how to make stories. Of course, you can’t write stories if you don’t read a lot, and I did that too.

I started writing a proper book when I was 17, so 13 years ago now – I did it with my sister and we spent 4 years writing a children’s book together! Then the moment we finished it we realised it wasn’t very good. I decided to have another go at another book on my own, and wrote ALEX, THE DOG AND THE UNOPENABLE DOOR. It took me two years to write it, then another two years to edit it after I got signed to my publisher… so that’s a good eight years of writing until I finally saw my book on a bookshelf! It’s all worth it though – the only way to get good at something is to practise it, and writing stories is the best practise you can have to be a writer.

Do you believe in aliens? (Fin)

I have no idea! But I believe that in the scope of the enormous, vast universe, there must have at some point been another species living on another planet. Perhaps they died out millions of years ago. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, they’re still alive. But whether or not we’ll ever be lucky enough to talk to each other is another matter…

Where do you get some imaginative ideas for your book? (Mothakin)

I wish I knew! An idea tends to jump at you when you least expect it – if you’re like me, you have to scribble it down before you forget it. I have a whole notebook I carry with me where I put down my ideas – then, when I need to come up with a new idea for a book, I look through and see what captures my attention. It might just be a tiny detail, but then I’ll build on it until it becomes an idea and then a character and then a book…
To give an example: I was walking though Charing Cross station when I saw a man selling small toy boats. they were made of tin, and powered by a little candle – like this! 
Image result for toy boat candle
I thought “Imagine if a mouse had to ride that across the sea!” I wrote it down, then when I revisited it I turned it into a story about a mouse who carries a candle across the ocean because he wants to take it to the stars. I gave it to my editor, we changed loads of things – including the main character – and now it’s coming out next year as a picture book! It’ll be called SPACE TORTOISE and the illustrations are by David Litchfield, who did the front cover for PERIJEE & ME. I’ve attached a sneak peek of one of the pages!
It sounds as though 6L and Miss Liddle are really enjoying Ross’ book!

We need to slow down reading Perijee and Me as we want to read it everyday!


From Carden to China (what an exotic bunch!) – which is where author Rob Lloyd Jones currently is and he’s got some feedback and cool insights into character!

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. 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 form the next exercise.

I’ve written some comments on your thoughts for each of you below.  And 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 a few 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.

Bradley and Leah:
You both liked the BFG – great choice! Leah said Sophie was brave and Bradley that he liked the characters. That’s great! Characters ate very important!

Evan and Connor:
I love the Walking Dead too! You both likes certain characters, which are the reason these stories are so popular- not because of the zombies, but because you love the characters fighting the zombies.

Tayla:
You said Harely Quinn makes you think about your own life – that’s brilliant! It means you were really involved in the story.

Ollie:
I liked that you said Star Wars left you on the edge of your seat. Good stories always leave you wanting more like that.

Darcey:
You liked Miss Root in the Demon Dentist. I agree, she’s great! Well written villains can sometimes make stories really special.

Ella:
I LOVE the Ruby Redford books!! Mystery books are great because they keep you guessing, and wanting to know more.

Humayra:
I’ve not read Has anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins, but it sounds great. You said you love it because it has lots of action – but I bet what you really love is the character in the middle of all that action?  

Junior:
I haven’t read the Gone books, but they sound really good. You said you love the cliffhangers – which is great. The writer has managed to grip you, to make you read more.

Max:
I love the Gone in 60 Seconds too!  You said you like it because it’s full of action, but I wonder if that is more that you like the characters in the action? If the characters were not unique, or interesting, then would the action be enough to make you love the story?

Amritti:
Life of Pi is wonderful! I was interested that you said you feel emotional about the characters. The best authors will draw you in like that – to draw the reader into the story, and make them feel the same emotions as the main character.

Pheobe:
Harry Potter stories are brilliant. You said your favourite art is about Hermione – so I’m guessing she is your favourite character? You could maybe write more about her in the next task?

Connor:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a great choice. You said you feel on the edge of your seat. The author wanted you to feel that way, so you would keep reading and be gripped.

Tommy:
The Cat in the Hat sounds like fun! You said it has funny characters, so its great that you were thinking about the characters – which are what makes a story great.  

Tawain:
I’ve never read Young Sherlock Holmes, but I love the older books. I like that you said you feel the main character questions everything. Sherlock Homes has been very popular for a long time, for the same reasons that you loved it so much – because the author makes you intrigued, and want to read on.

Nillab:
You like Sofia Sofa in Worlds Worst Children because she is ‘unique’. That’s brilliant! The best stories all have unique characters, who you want to find out more about.

Lilia:
I adore the Percy Jackson books. They are packed with so much fun and crazy action – but I was interested that what you spoke about Annabeth, and how she feels. All that detail and fun action wouldn’t be very interesting unless you cared about the characters, which you do.

Carol:
I’ve never read Shadow, but it sounds great. You said it makes you think more about your own life, which is very interesting.  Authors try to make you feel that way, so you get drawn into the story more.


Off to Goldstone now where Guy had set a challenge for Year 3 to create their own pieces inspired by the action scenes in Stitch Head…

Here’s some great examples!

Raef
“He’s in the dungeon…he’s smashing the great door down!” mumbled Stitch Head nervously to himself. Right at the end of the dungeon, he could see a small bar silhouette pounding at the crooked door. Stitch Head silently crept towards the disturbing creature.

The strong, long door was splintering, the padlocks were rattling, and there was no time to think. He had to act now. With his body quivering with fear, Stitch Head silently crept towards the sinister creature.

He swiftly launched himself on the creature’s head with the magic potion securely in his pocket. With arms and legs wrapped firmly around its head, Stitch Head desperately hurled the potion into its disgusting, drooling mouth.

Kobe
“It’s in the courtyard…it’s trying to clamber over the great wall.”  Stitch Head snivelled to himself. In the far corner Stitch Head saw the creature falling down the mossy wall. It was frantically pulling itself up again. Stitch Head silently crept into the gloomy courtyard..

The creature was almost at the top of the wall, the time to act was now. Any second, it would escape. Stitch Head bolted through doors and clambered up the wall using the deep holes left in the stone wall and grabbed onto its shaggy hair. He climbed up his tree-trunk legs, over his mighty back and onto his huge head.

Taluka 

Taluka.jpg

Sonny
“It’s in the entrance hall…It’s trying to find it’s way out of the castle.” shivered Stitch Head cautiously to himself. At the end of the corridor, he could see a creature shaped silhouette crashing around frantically. Stitch Head quietly tip-toed to the shadows of the entrance hall.

It had almost broken down the wall, bricks and rubble were flying everywhere! Any moment now, it would smash the wall and be free. Stitch Head raced like a bolt of lightning, up to the beast and clambered up the wall, finally onto the beast’s shoulder.

 

 

Reports from Goldstone is that word is spreading about how great AAA is….!

Still having lots of giggles at the Creature and the children are loving the book. Other year groups are now asking who ‘this Stitch Head is’

Brilliant work from everyone! See you next week!

Chapter 1 – The First Week!

The first week of Adopt an Author has been brilliant, classes have received emails from their authors and are getting to know each other well. They’ve exchanged some fantastic tasks and we’re blown away by the amazing work they’ve completed!

St Luke’s said ‘hi’ to their adopted author Ali Sparkes!

Dear Class 5P

I can’t help thinking of you like this…

I know there are 31 of you and you are perfectly normal children. Well… mostly normal children. You’re not 31 small, round, shiny metal discs. But I still keep seeing a whole class of 5ps, sitting eerily at tables, glinting… maybe the naughty ones at the back flipping themselves to heads or tails every so often…

So you should probably send me a photo of you all, if you can, so I can actually picture you rather than 5p coins. After all, I am your author. You have all just ADOPTED me. I should know what you look like. Here’s what I look like today…

This is me in my POD. POD stands for Place Of Dreams and it’s my little space up the garden where I write my books. The fox is called Dax. Some of you may know why. Here’s what the POD looks like from the outside today:

Daffodils are my favourite flowers so I love this view of the POD in March.

I’m really looking forward to meeting you all after the Easter holidays. At the moment, at the start of March, I’ve got an epic amount of school visits and festivals and launches and whatnot to do. I’m doing launch events for my brand new book – Thunderstruck.

You can check out the trailer for it on www.alisparkes.com.   Then, when March is over, I stop all the driving around the country and get back to the POD to concentrate on a book I’ve got to finish by the end of April.

In the meantime…

Here are three facts about me. But one of them is made up. Can you guess which is the made up one?

1. I can play two recorders simultaneously – one in each nostril.

2. I was once the sequin-clad assistant to a juggling unicyclist.

3. I have webbed toes.

You can have a vote to decide which is made up (I’ll tell you in my next email). Then I’d like each of you to write down three ‘facts’ about yourself and then challenge the class to guess which is the made up one. MAKE SURE your teacher, Paul, does this too.

When you’ve done that, you’ll be nice and warmed up, so you can write the rest of THIS story…

THE BIG FAT FIB

Sam should never have said it. It was a big fat fib and everyone knew it.

‘Go on then!’ said Emma. ‘Show us!’

‘Yeah!’ said Callum. ‘Prove it!’

Sam looked down at the thing on the desk and felt hot and sweaty. Oh no… what now?

What is the thing on the desk? What does Sam have to do with it? What will happen next? I want to KNOW!!!

So have fun with this and share your stories. They don’t have to be very long. Paul can send me the top five to read. I’m already agog to know what you’ll dream up…

Anyway, I’m off travelling again. This week I’m going to Maidenhead, Shaftesbury, Bristol, Chichester and Great Dunmow in Essex. Hope I don’t lose my voice…

See you soon, 5p! 😊

And to help differentiate 5p from 31 shiny silver coins – here’s what they really look like!

st lukes 5p.JPG

The class created some brilliant BIG FAT FIBS! All of course in the name of creative writing! Check some of them out and see if you can spot any fabrications…


And now, over to Goldstone, who welcomed their author Guy Bass with some super questions!

Hi Guy,

Well the Stitch Head fever has started. The children love it!

stitch head 2.jpeg

This week we are reading the prologue and finding out all about Fulburt. We are looking closely at how you infer about the character by the way he speaks and acts.

Later in the week we are reading chapter 1 and designing our own monsters as if we are Professor Erasmus.

But before we even looked at the book, the children wanted to find out a bit more about you. Wow, have they got a lot of questions for you!

Here goes…

And here’s Guy with some excellent insight into writing and his love of fried doughy confectionary!

Hello! It’s seventeen different kids how lovely to hear from you. I love getting emails. The sugary coating, the jam in the middle– No wait, that’s doughnuts. I love doughnuts. The electronic format, the words written in a particular order– No wait, that’s emails. Where was I…?

Oh yes! Thanks for your email! I especially like it because it’s written to me. I’m sure you’d like to know a bit about me. Well, I’m taller than my mum and I have all my own teeth. But enough about me. It’s time to answer your questions! About me.

What would be your top 5 tips on writing a successful book?

  1. Read! Good writers are good readers.
  2. Write! As in, as much as you can – flex your mighty mind muscles and they’ll get stronger.
  3. Rewrite! Chances are you won’t get your book right first time round. Be ready to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until you think you might go bonkers from all of the rewriting.
  4. Tell stories that excite you. If you’re passionate about the belly button fluff of elephants, that passion will come across in the book. Similarly, if you couldn’t care less about robot dinosaurs, you really shouldn’t be writing about them.
  5. Believe. Doubt in your own ability is all part of any creative endeavour, but if you think you have a great idea, believe in it and see it through to the end. You owe it to your idea.

Where do you write your stories?

Anywhere! On trains, in hotels, on the toilet … but usually in my study at home.

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always loved telling stories. As a child I spent my evenings and weekends and holidays making up characters and then putting them in all sorts of scrapes and situations. I’d write stories, draw comics or act our different scenarios with my brother. It usually involved play-fighting. A lot of play-fighting.

I also love eggs and cheese, but that’s a different story. It’s called Eggs and Cheese and Why I Love Them.

When did you start to write about Stitch Head? Once you have the main character, is it easier to write a series of books?

I started writing the book pretty soon after I’d come up with Stitch Head. It was a tricky start though – I wrote a good chunk of the story but Stitch Head’s character just wasn’t right so I had to go back and start again. Once I’d sorted out Stitch Head, the other characters started to fall into place. The Creature was deliberately very different to Stitch Head – it’s loud and carefree and could get Stitch Head into trouble without meaning to. On the other hand, Arabella (who doesn’t appear all that much in book one) was so much fun to write I made her a major character in subsequent books. It’s definitely easier to write more stories once you really ‘know’ the characters … easier, but never easy!

Where did the idea of Stitch Head come from?

I started out with the idea of a mad professor who made monsters in the grand tradition of Dr Frankenstein. But what if Frankenstein made his first monster what he was just a boy, out of leftovers from his dad’s own mad experiments. I did a little sketch in my notebook and the story unfolded from there.

At what age did you start writing books?

My early 30s. Before that I wrote plays. And, very occasionally, shopping lists.

What is your favourite book that you or someone else has written?

My favourite children’s book of ever all time ever in the world ever is George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. If you get me talking about it, I WILL NOT STOP.

How many books have you written in total?

I’m hoping to finish writing book 29 next week…

Which was your first book to be published?

Gormy Ruckles, Monster Boy. When I was growing up, my mum used to say “I’ve got the Gormy Ruckles” when she wasn’t feeling well. I always thought it would be a good name for a monster. Thanks Mum!

gormy ruckles.jpeg

Which book did you spend the most time on and why?

Gormy took ages (despite being quite short) ’cause it was my first book! I’m not sure which took the longest but the toughest to write was The Mighty Frog, which was the last in a trilogy. Tying up all the loose ends was a right pain in the plot!

Which book did you enjoy writing the most and why?

Possibly Secret Santa: Agent of X.M.A.S. ’cause it really fed my love of puns. Or the Atomic! books… or Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things … oThe Legend of Frog. Definitely one of those. Or one of the others. These questions are hard…

Is there a particular time of day when you prefer to write?

I’m not bad in the morning but I write best in the evenings, from around 6pm. It’s frustratingly anti-social but then, so am I 🙂

What is the scariest book you have written?

Probably Stitch Head: The Ghost of Grotteskew, because GHOSTS.

How long does it take to write and then publish a book?

How long is a piece of string? Well, in this case the piece of string is about 3 months long. That’s about how long it takes me, give or take a month either side. But I’m not writing solidly for 3 months! Right now, for example, I’m writing this email. And later I’m going to eat an apple.

How many times do you, or the publisher, edit the original story?

How long is a piece of– No wait, that was the last question. So, I rewrite a LOT before I deliver a first draft. Then it’s usually one or two more drafts before it’s more or less sort of ready. I think I’m getting better at delivering stronger first drafts but you’d have to ask my editor! My dream is to one day write the perfect, air-tight first draft. But. That. Will. Never, Happen.

When did you start writing for pleasure?

As soon as I could pick up a crayon!

Did you get on well at school?

School? Never heard of it. Is it some sort of new dance craze?

Was there a particular author or person who inspired you to write?

Too many to mention! But Roald Dahl and anyone writing comic books in the 1980s spring to mind.

Your books are published into different languages, do you speak any of the other languages?

Uh … Un petit peu français peut-être – mais c’est tout. Désolé!

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The humbling thought that an idea that occurs to me – possibly on the toilet – might one day become an actual book that someone else might actually want to read! Possibly on the toilet.

Do you have ideas for your next book?

Yes! Most of them are 100% brilliant, except the one about the cupboard that dreams of going on an adventure … but then doesn’t. That one needs some work.

Will you use any of our ideas in your next book?

Are they all brilliant? They’re all 100% brilliant, right? In which case yes, but only if I can take all the credit and horde all the riches and eat all the eggs and cheese myself.

Do you like reading your own books?

Well, by the time a book goes to print I’ve read, re-read, checked and combed its hair so many times that I’m not usually in the mood to read it again. Plus there are a lot of books out there that I haven’t read and didn’t write! But I do enjoy reading my books aloud at school events and festivals.

Why did you start to write children’s stories?

The voices in my head told me too. Also, as my wife will tell you and my toy collection proves, I’m still about 8 years old in my head, so it was a comfy fit…

Phew! I’m off for a long lie-down. But not in the swimming pool, this time. That was a bad idea. Not as bad as the cupboard who dreams of going on an adventure … but then doesn’t. But still pretty bad.

E-speak to you soon, Year 3! And have yourselves a DINGLE DANGLE!

(That’ll make sense when you get further through the book…)

Cheers,

Guy


Heading over to Mile Oak now – here’s class 6L with their book Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery.

Mile Oak 6L.JPG

Dear Miss Liddle and 6L,

Well here it is – my first proper email to your class! I think I’ll start by answering some of your questions!

Did you base Perijee on anyone or anything and how did you come up with the name? (Lauren and Amelia)

As far as I know, Perijee isn’t based on anyone or anything I know – I know that sounds like an odd answer, but sometimes it takes me ages to work out that I’ve based a character on something! For example, it took me a while to realise the character of Frank was based on a friend of mine called Rael who sadly passed away before the book was finished – if you look at the front of the book you’ll see I’ve dedicated it to him. Fun fact: in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, the alien wasn’t called Perijee – he was called Parsec! However my editor told me that was rubbish and that everyone in the sales meeting had laughed at it, so I had to change it. Boooooo! A parsec is a measurement of distance in space – how far light can travel in 3.25 years. This is roughly 19 million-MILLION miles! (That’s 12 zeroes!)Why did you choose a pineapple? (Lauren)

Because it is the best fruit. Obviously. This is a lie – in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, the opening scene started with a drawing Caitlin had made of her family and her describing it. I’ve actually found the scene and attached it to this email – have a look and see if you can notice any differences between the first draft and the finished book! There was also a whole deleted scene in the first draft which showed Caitlin having a horrible time at her end of term party. I wanted to show how she stood out from the other children and didn’t fit in – so while everyone else bought crisps and sandwiches, Caitlin brought a pineapple but nothing to cut it with. My editor said the scene was too sad and I should cut it out.

What inspired you to write Perijee and me, a book about friendship? (Nayeema)

This is a very good question! I think when I started writing it, I didn’t realise I was making a book about friendship – I thought I was writing about a lonely girl who wanted to look after something. However, the more I worked on the book, the more I realised that the book should show how important friendship is – how you can make a connection between you and someone else, no matter how different they may seem. This happens a lot with writing a book – you start out thinking it’s about one thing, but then it changes into something else. Just like Perijee! The original inspiration for PERIJEE & ME is a very strange story – but that’s a tale for another time…

What made you think of the name Caitlin and not something else? Is she based on someone you know? (Brooke)

Caitlin is based primarily on a girl I used to teach. I won’t say her name as that wouldn’t be fair! She was a very sunny and kind and enthusiastic, but she struggled at school and you could see how hard she found it. I was very touched by the fact that even when she found learning difficult, she never gave up – and she always fought to stay positive even when it must have been very sad for her. She was an inspiration! Fun fact: in the first draft of PERIJEE & ME, there was a whole scene where Caitlin explains how much she hates her name because no one ever spells it right. She’s made to write her name on the board but spells it wrong, gets flustered, tries to sound it out and confuses herself – then when the teacher shouts at her she writes I HAIT SPELING on the board and throws the teacher’s sandwich out the window.

What made you think of the name Perijee? (Louis)

After my editor told me to change the name from Parsec, I had to look at a lot of different options – I wanted a name that Caitlin would have taken from her astrobiologist father, so I got researching and started looking up astrophysics terms – here’s a good selection!

http://www.atnf.csiro.au/outreach/education/senior/astrophysics/astrophysics_glossary.html

I looked up the names of stars, names of constellations, names of NASA space missions and astronauts, names of animals who have been sent into space… I must have looked at hundreds until I found the right one! Other possible options were:

  • Quark!
  • Gordo!
  • Vol!
  • Tarf!
  • Kappa!
  • Marfik!
  • Praxidike!

As you can see, they were all rubbish. I eventually came across “perigee” – this is the word for when the moon gets closest to earth in its orbit. This happens once a month – the point where it’s farthest away is called the “apogee”. If it happens to be a full moon during a perigee, we get a “supermoon”! It normally gets mentioned in the news because it means the moon looks massive and beautiful, like this:

Image result for supermoon

Fun fact: The next supermoon is apparently due on May 25th, 2017 – look out for it! However the biggest supermoon of the whole CENTURY will be on December 6th, 2052. I will be 65 years old when this happens – feel free to message me on my floating millionaire’s astropad on the tenth moon of Jupiter.

I hope you found those answers helpful. One of the things you might have noticed is how many times I mentioned something was different in my first draft – this is going to be an important theme in my correspondence with you! I completely rewrote PERIJEE & ME about ten times before I was happy with it – and the same will be true of every single book you know and love. Rewriting and editing is invaluable to writing – no one ever, EVER gets it right on their first try. You can always go back and make it better!

With that in mind, Ross set about giving 6L their first task…

I want you to focus on the very first chapter – a nice short one! Have a go re-reading it as a class if that helps. I wrote this chapter to create a little bit of a mystery, and make the reader want to find out more about Perijee. You might have found it a bit of a shock when it suddenly said he grew fingers, for example!

In order to help the reader visualise Perijee, I used two SIMILES to describe him – can you find them? Why do you think I compared Perijee to these things? What do you think is the point of using similes?

(I’ve written what I think the answer is at the bottom of this email – you might disagree!)

Then, I’d like you to use similes to describe different parts of it – its eyes, its teeth, its hair, its nails, its skin, its arms…

REMEMBER: if your alien is scary, then you should compare it to things that are scary!

GOOD EXAMPLE: The alien’s eyes were as red as erupting volcanoes.

BAD EXAMPLE: The alien’s eyes were as red as nice tasty tomatoes.

Let me know how you get on – I’m looking forward to seeing some beautiful pieces of descriptive writing!

Have a lovely rest of the week and speak soon,

Ross

Secret answer:
I think similes are often used because they put an image in your head. No one knows what a shape-shifting alien looks like, but pretty much everyone knows what a candle looks like. So if I describe Perijee as “like a candle in a jar”, the first thing in your head is a glowing candle – as a writer, this is how you can make a reader see what’s in your own imagination!

Here are some great examples of simple similes:
Mr Gum: “Mr Gum was a fierce old man with a red beard and two bloodshot eyes that stared out at you like an octopus curled up in a bad cave.”

Harry Potter: “An old man was standing before them, his wide pale eyes shining like moons through the gloom of the shop.”

And here’s a more advanced example of how similes, metaphors and personification can be used to turn something you probably haven’t seen before – a school burning down! – into something you can imagine just by cleverly placing images in your head:

Cider With Rosie: “Then the schoolhouse chimney caught on fire. A fountain of sparks shot high into the night, writhing and sweeping on the wind, falling and dancing along the road. The chimney hissed like a firework, great rockets of flame came gushing forth.. yellow jets of smoke belched from cracks in the chimney.”

Ross left the class with a genius task for next week – to come up with their very own alien! We look forward to hearing about 6L’s awesome other worldly creatures!


And now popping over to see what Carden’s been up to – ah, I see Rob Lloyd Jones posed some interesting questions to Year 6!

Favourite stories – describe your favourite story, and tell me why
Favourite character – Tell me about your favourite character in any story
Story starts – how stories begin, and how yours now can
Scene settings – how to describe a place, with a task to do so
Villains – tell me about your antagonist
Story endings – how good stories end, how does your story finish
Themes and messages – after all of this, what was your story really about? Does it matter if you have a theme?

Some brilliant recommendations. Right we’re off to the library with a list of books to borrow as recommended by Carden’s Year 6 – they all sound fantastic!


We can’t wait to check in next week and find out what our authors and classes have been up to!