Category Archives: Imogen White



Yes, yes we did! We’re at the end of the brilliant 2018 Adopt An Author. Carden, Mile Oak, Benfield and Stanford Juniors have all read, written, illustrated and taken care of their adopted author’s superbly, so it is now time to celebrate all the amazing adoptee’s who have worked so hard throughout the project. And what better way than meeting their authors over a bit of cake?!!!


First up Rose Muddle author Imogen White took Team Carden on a historical journey around Brighton and Hove before a bit of dress-up, performance and a quiz!


Team Carden presented Imogen with their very own books they’d worked so hard on creating!

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Huge congrats Carden on an amazing project and well done on your superb books, we are all so impressed!

Next up Harold headed to Brighton……

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Benfield Primary had spent a fun 10 weeks enjoying the company of the loveable Pigsticks and Harold and it was now time to meet their brilliant author Alex Milway.

With tummies full of yummy Pizza Face pizza, lots of live drawing and many lols – this was a party that would always be remembered!

Huge congrats Benfield on a fantastic Adopt an Author, we have loved seeing all your fantastic email exchanges and all the amazing work – the characters you created were superb!!!



Mile Oak had been engrossed in email exchanges with Wild Boy author Rob Lloyd Jones throughout the project and today was the day that they finally got to meet him! And what a wonderful welcome he had!!!

Massive congrats Mile Oak on all your hard work and excellent questions – we love that you enjoyed Wild Boy so much! Rob is delighted too!

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Stanford Juniors welcomed Beetle Boy author M. G. Leonard and her very special guests to the Brighton Dome…. (the clue is in the title of her book…)

Stanford have worked so hard throughout the project, have loved the book and even created their very own special beetles! A BIG BETTLE BRAVO!!!!


A massive thank you and HOORAY to all 2018 adopted authors. To all the schools involved; the teachers, teaching assistants and parents. A big, big up to Brighton Festival for another fantastic year – thank you!

BUT the BIGGEST CHEER and ROUND OF APPLAUSE is for all the children who worked so hard and created the most fantastic work – we are all so proud of you – you should be too!

Until 2019!

Team AAA xxx

The End! (well, not quite…)

After such gripping middle sections of Team Carden’s stories it was of course only right that the next task would be story ENDINGS

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The end of your story!


You did such brilliant work on the ‘middle of the story’ task I set you last time. I found myself completely gripped by the cliffhangers and new characters you introduced! Huge congratulations to you all!

This week, we’re looking to create a truly spectacular ending to your FANTASTIC stories. A good ending can be full of dramatic, heart stopping action that’s really fun to write!


Firstly, I would like you all to spend a few minutes reading through your beginnings and middles, so you can remember where your story was up to before Easter, because I expect that seems like a long time ago Now!

PS: I hope you all had lots of chocolate!
Before you begin writing:

Here are the three things I want you to include in your endings:

1: The Outcome – Take a moment to decide what’s going to happen in your ending:

Here are some things to think about:

a: Remind yourself what your baddie’s goal was:

  • World domination?
  • Taking over your school?
  • Taking control of a magical object?
  • Or something else?

b: Decide now whether your baddie is going to succeed in their ‘goal’ at the end (climax) of your story?

c: Is your baddie going to turn good at the end?

d: Is someone, or something, going to try to stop your baddie?

e: Does your baddie have a weakness?

Is this weakness going to stop your baddie in the climax?

2: Include a dramatic action scene:

I really want you to have a go at writing a thrilling action scene.

My top tip here for writing action, is to slow the timings right down. It is tempting to write action quickly because there is so much going on. But by slowing things right down it can make the action even more dramatic and satisfying to read.

For example, in The Amber Pendant’s finale. Funnel is in big trouble and getting covered in dark magical goo.

Rather than writing, ‘Funnel got blanketed in loads of dark magical goo.’

I slowed the action right down, and instead wrote:

‘The thick, treacle-like mass licked about his feet. Funnel sniggered as it rose up, forming coils that curled up around him like a serpent. His smile dropped. The gunge wound higher up his body, roll upon roll until it reached his head. Funnel’s mouth opened to scream,

It covered him.


Out of these two options, I think the slower, more detailed passage is more dramatic. What do you think?

3:The Conclusion:

After the climax, and all that brilliant action, I’d like a line or a paragraph that ties up all the loose ends. I want to know how the remaining character(s) feel after their adventure? Are they happy? Sad? Cross?

What does the future look like?

Or, you could end it with a twist, maybe there is more to come…

The Task:


Spend 30 minutes, concluding your brilliant stories. Just a reminder, I am looking for these three things in your endings:

Outcome: I want to see who comes out on top and how.

Action: I would like you to include an action scene – where you slow things right down and use lots of description.


I want a final line or paragraph, that calmly explains what the future looks like following the adventure? How have things changed? Are things better or worse than they were before the story began?

And what emotions are your characters now feeling? are they excited? Relieved? Cross? Scared? Or, maybe, Proud? Putting this emotion in, should help the ending feel satisfying to the reader.


My word, I SIMPLY cannot wait to read your endings!!


Team Carden endings are fantastic – they’ve all worked so hard! Do have a look and prepare to be gripped!

HUGE WELL DONE CARDEN – wonderful writing and you all deserve a massive pat on the back! Imogen was totally blown away by the fantastic work you produced!

Team Carden Primary’s Task Five Feedback:

What exciting, nail biting endings you all created…

There were some simply fantastic moments in this last task, full of fabulous descriptions, tension and cliffhangers. Some of my favourite parts were: the Brighton and Hove Albion themed flying saucer (– this really made me laugh! Brilliant!) Snaky Sasha’s Snake House. A history changing stone circle. A yellow goo grenade. SWAT teams jumping out of helicopters – just to mention but a few! What a talented bunch you are Team Carden! I simply cannot wait to see your finished books now…

😊 😊 😊



Here is some individual feedback:

Wow! What a dramatic ending! I absolutely loved the power the amulet had over Dead Beatrice – how it froze her and made her see the error of her ways. A truly great ending!

I still want to know more about what ‘the strange stuff’ coming out of the ground is? Perhaps you can describe this a touch more when you write it out in full? I only ask because you write descriptions so well – and I REALLY want to know! Great work!

Oo, the Bob story! I am always happy to catch up with him!

Ah, bless Bob for realizing that he didn’t really want to hurt anyone, and instead going off to save Alex. I thought this was a really great twist at the end. Well done!

But, I still really want to know who exactly the person is who captured Alex? Can you expand on this a little more when you write it out in full maybe?

The part of your ending I was the most impressed with was that fantastic last line, when the mayor congratulates Alex and Bob for being so brave and gives them the role of Protectors of the City. This was a really neat way to end your story and left me feeling completely satisfied. You did exactly what I asked for from the ending, by tying up all the loose ends. You totally nailed it! Huge congratulations!

Wow! Back to this brilliant Crown Jewels heist story! And what a super opening – ‘stomping to a locked black door, covered in silky spiderwebs.’ I can really visualize this – great writing!

And, I also adored how you described the veins in Diamond’s wrist bulging because her hand was being held so tightly. This kind of detailed description really makes the reader engage with your brilliant storytelling. Extraordinarily great writing skills!

Another part I’d like to mention, is your description of Diamond’s attempted escape, and how she ‘chopped’ on the handcuffs – I could really see and hear this happening.

I think Diamond is a fantastic character. I love how prepared she is at the end with that parachute too. She really is a super villain isn’t she! Amazing work!


I love the part you play in this story, with that ring, heading back from ASDA! Hehe! (You always put in a shop or two, don’t you? Which is great! It makes the world you have created feel everyday – but it’s not – it’s actually ‘magic’ in the everyday. Very clever.)

Wow, we all know that feeling when you sense someone is following you but aren’t quite sure if you are imagining it or not. It’s a very spooky feeling isn’t it? And, in your story, it is made worse because someone IS following you – and that person is… BOB… THE MASS SERIAL KILLER! YIKES! Yikes, and triple YIKES!

I was super relieved when you produced that AMAZING yellow goo grenade to overcome him. PHEW! I was seriously happy to see Bob taken down by all that sticky, yellow slime. A fabulous ending. Ace work!

What an exciting scene you have created; you and your mum jumping from building to building, trying to escape, but everything is crumbling away. Exciting stuff indeed!

I really want to know what is going to happen next? I hope you and your mum get away!! (I’m biting my nails!)

What a lovely description you use of Sinthea Star, ‘squealing like a banshee on the loose.’ Brilliant. (I always really enjoy your descriptions, you are a fabulous writer!)

The tension you build in your writing is simply amazing! I loved how you slowed the action right down (just as I asked) – spine tingling stuff!

And, then… the creature was… her DAD! Fabulous!

Just an idea, how about tinkering with the ending and having her dad being after the orb at the very end? See what you think – it could be very dramatic? Maybe, it could even teleport them back to Mars or something?

I really love your ideas and writing style. FABULOUS!

I love your use of speech in your story. This line in particular: “No need to worry? NO NEED TO WORRY?” Using those capitals worked brilliantly!

I really want to know if, or how, Sir Quentin (the Gecko!) is involved? Because I love him as a character!

I also loved, ‘667 Dark Avenue.’ What a great atmospheric choice of place name!

I thought Violet finding the necklace was brilliant too! A great ending – I wonder what’s going to happen next?

I always really enjoy your writing style, I find it very engaging! Excellent!


Aw, no – those poor children locked in the basement, never to be seen again! Yikes!

I loved how you left Tiggy Tiger in serious trouble, with all that thick water rising up her body! Tense stuff indeed. Well done – I really want to know what happens next! Fabulously exciting.

Goodness me, Stealer Sam (and his mouse!) are in serious trouble. Water! Stealer Sam’s worst nightmare, is swirling up his body! Whaaaah! – and… HE CAN’T SWIM!!

Thank goodness for that piece of foam floating past that saves him. Phewee!

You created great tension in your ending. Well done! Fabulous!

What a great and dramatic ending you have created! What with that SWAT team swooping down in their helicopter, and them all piling in to help with that police dog! What a fabulous scene!

I know I shouldn’t, but I feel a bit sorry for Marv!! I really want to know what happened next, that’s for sure! BRILLIANT WORK!

I loved how you had Mal bash her head when she was trying to break into the house, and that the sound of it woke Zoe up – a great idea!

But, goodness me! What a gory ending! One that was full of tension. (I felt very sorry for poor Zoe though!)

I thought the pacing at the end of your story was great. Very dramatic and scary (I won’t be able to sleep tonight though!) YIKES!

I love how Deigo started to glow – making him super powerful, meaning he could defeat the monsters! Ace! And, also Diego saying, “Now it’s just you and me Deathsythe.” Super dramatic – I was totally hooked!

I find your writing very visual, which is a real skill to have. I love how Deathsythe creates a bubble, trapping them both inside and using it to draw away Diego’s powers. Yikes!

What a super brilliant cliffhanger, having Deathsythe’s spirit wanting to find a new host! And, so the adventures continue… Nail biting stuff indeed. FABULOUS!

Right. Mystery Mark – I so LOVE him. It was brilliant how you took me straight back into the action, with Mystery Mark replacing the ‘moss covered’ stone to complete the circle!!

  1. MY. WORD… The power of the completed circle is powerful enough to change history! YES!! (– no wonder Mystery Mark is smirking!)

WOW! Didn’t Harry do well overcoming Mystery Mark like that? But… YIKES! The stone circle is still generating history changing power! What an incredible cliffhanger!

AMAZING! What a truly terrific cliffhanger. High five! LOVE IT!

What a great chase scene you created at the end! And well done getting Deadly Dan’s weakness in there too – his fear of dogs! Brilliant! And great use of speech in your story too!

Yikes! But the rubber on the end of the magic pen has GONE! DuhduhDAHHHH! Well done you! ACE.

Wowsas! You start off bang into the action with this piece! Great! But I feel super worried for Jake! He’s been really badly hurt, and the Red Knight is still after him. Really tense stuff!

But then, in a mega twist, Jake finds himself in prison. At this point I felt relieved he was ok, but, just like Jake, confused too…

Then, in a final twist, the prison guard tells him that the Red Knight wants to see him! YIKES! Out of the frying pan and into the fire!

You have created a really imaginative and tense ending, full to the brim with twists and turns. BRILLIANT!

I thought the rival football teams shaking hands at the end of the match was ace, very sportsmanly indeed! But then, in a twist, all hell lets loose back in the changing room, doesn’t it?! There were punches flying everywhere! Yikes! Very dramatic and scary. I was ducking for cover reading it – and super glad not to be in those changing rooms, that’s for sure!

I loved the twist you put in at the end – how despite drawing the match, Bullys FC won on goal difference! I bet they were chuffed!

I think you have delivered a really well thought out story. Well done you!

Slime falling from the sky is ace! – how wonderful! And then, to top it all, a UFO arrives! But, not just any UFO… a blue and white one, with a Brighton and Hove Albion badge on it!! Hahaha! I was reading this chanting, “GO SEAGULLS!” BRILLIANT! This addition is not only totally bonkers, but also absolutely in keeping with your football themed story. TREMENDOUS!

Question: Does this mean that Billie Buster is in league with the Albion supporting aliens then?

Billy Buster is ace! But, do we ever find out who that man was he was fighting with? You may want to slip this detail in when you write it out in full maybe?

(By the way, I must tell you, your UFO arriving is one of my favourite moments from Team Carden’s work. FANTASTIC!)

So, we arrive back in your story at the battle, and, OH NO! Those demons are zapping dirt at Tragic – which is his weakness. I can really imagine Tragic dodging all those blasts of dirt! Very dramatic writing. Excellent!

A quick question: Are the demons on the Guardians side? – I wasn’t sure?

Thank goodness Tragic is overcome – as it really was very touch and go wasn’t it?! You created a perfect dramatic ending. Well done you!

I straight away loved how Miss Bee had become a real bee! A brilliant idea.

Thank goodness that clock got smashed to pieces! PHEW! What an excellent ending! 😊 But, Miss Bee must be super cross now! I bet her stinger is itching to get its own back!

Well done you, a great story!

FANTASTIC work yet again TEAM CARDEN! Your writing is always full of drama and surprises!

I cannot wait to meet you all and see your finished books! 😊😊😊


And nor can we!!!

Team AAA

Carden’s Middle Mysteries

Team Carden have been busy flexing their creativity with Imogen’s latest challenge… the all important MIDDLE of the story. Let’s see what they’ve been up to!

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The middle of your story!


This week, we’re looking at how to structure your story and how to tackle that tricky middle section… You did such brilliant work on your ‘Create a believable baddie’ task, you had me gasping, giggling and wanting to read more!

So, for this task, you can use your baddie work as ‘the beginning’ of your stories. I want you to carry on from there, building the characters you’ve already thought up into a fantastic story. The next step towards that is writing the action-packed middle!

First, a bit about story structure:

As I’m sure you know, story structures are usually separated into (at least) three parts. I’ve broken these down below first, looking at how your story will develop at each stage:

The Beginning:

This is where we meet our main character, (in this case our baddie,) and introduce their main goal – what they want to achieve. (You will be using your AMAZING baddies work for your beginning.)

The Middle:

This is where our baddie comes up against problem(s) in trying to achieve their goal. And sometimes, a few things go their way too. (Which is todays task!)

The End (The Climax)

This is where, despite the odds, the baddie overcomes all problems and succeeds in achieving their main goal. Or…if you like twists, or want to set-up future stories, where the baddie is defeated. (PS: The Ending is next week’s task!)

A bit more about the middle:

The middle section of your story needs to be full of excitement, as your baddies try to move forward to achieve their goals.

In the middle of your story, your baddie could come up against a problem, which, by the end, they can either overcome, or, if things don’t go quite to plan, can defeat them.

The middle is all about building towards the climax, and you should have the outcome of the ultimate ending of the story in your mind as you are writing the middle.

The middle should set the stage for your action-packed ending which you will be creating next week, so see if you can end this middle section on a cliffhanger.

The Task:

Firstly, spend ten minutes answering these six questions:

Q 1: Think back to your Baddie work in Task 2. Remind yourself what your baddie’s goal was:

  • World domination?
  • Taking over your school?
  • Taking control of a magical object?
  • Or something else?

Q 2: Decide now whether your baddie is going to succeed in their ‘goal’ at the end (climax) of your story (which you will be writing next week)?

  • If the answer is ‘YES’, then your middle part could build up to see your baddie weakened, to set things up as though they won’t be able to succeed at the climax of the story. (Then you can unexpectedly turn things around in the ending next week!)
  • If the answer is ‘NO’ and they are going to be ultimately overcome at the end of the whole story, then the middle part could end with them in a point of power – where they seem unstoppable. (And again, setting things up to unexpectedly change in the climax next week.)

Q 3: Is your baddie going to turn good at the end?

  • If the answer is ‘YES’ then the middle could see them become utterly bad and unstoppable. (You can turn it around in the climax next week.)

Q 4: Is someone, or something, going to try to stop your baddie?

  • Do they come up against another character(s) who is trying to stop them?
  • How does this other character(s) try to stop your baddie?

Q 5: Thinking back to your week 1 task, is there a magical object that your baddie is after?

  • If there is, remember to include it in this middle part of your story too.
  • Do they get the magical object? Or is it taken from them?

Q 6: Does your baddie have a weakness?

  • If this weakness is ultimately going to stop your baddie in the climax next week, then it would be good to set up the idea of it in this middle part.


Spend a couple of minutes deciding what is going to happen overall, and perhaps discussing with a partner.


Spend 30 minutes, using the questions you answered above, to Write the middle of your story!

And remember, if you can, leave the middle part of the story on a cliffhanger ready for the climatic ‘Ending’ you will be creating next week…

I cannot wait to read your ‘middles’!


Team Carden sure got writing some magnificent middles….

WOW! We are hooked on these middles what fantastic work! Imogen was SO IMPRESSED and had some fantastic feedback for everyone…


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You all did so BRILLIANTLY creating your middles…

Writing the middle part of stories is very tricky, but Team Carden totally delivered!

Writing the middle part of stories is often difficult, sometimes they are called ‘the soggy middles,’ because it is when the pace of stories can slump. Keeping the middles full of excitement, intrigue and mystery really helps to keep the reader hooked, ready for ‘the end’ of your story. And, OH MY WORD, you ALL really delivered on this! I was literally on the edge of my seat with your wonderful characters, twists and cliffhangers – desperate to know what was going to happen next! A sure fired sign that you all mopped up with this task. What I was most impressed with this week was the use of cliffhangers, which really kept the tension building. Excellent.

I could not be any more pleased. Massive pats on the backs all round TEAM CARDEN!


Here is some individual feedback:

I love how you have Dead Beatrice closing her eyes to locate the amulet she is after! And, ‘the fury in her eyes,’ you describe when she pinpoints it! Excellent description. You really did manage to get a lot in to your middle and even managed to end it on a cliffhanger! I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what she had spotted in that restricted building – and desperate to find out what suddenly sprung out of the ground! Exciting stuff indeed! Can’t wait to read the end of this fantastic story! Well done!

Gosh, it was so brilliant to return and find out how Bob is getting on – the last we heard of him he was stuck in that vat of chemicals! Goodness me – he has changed, how amazingly strong he is now! Wonderful! I loved your introduction of Alex and his special gloves. Someone MUST stop Bob! My only hope is that Bob and his special gloves can do it! YIKES! Hugely looking forward to reading the end of this dramatic story. Excellent cliffhanger and amazing story telling.

Oo, I loved Diamond’s reaction when she spotted the Crown Jewels, ‘she didn’t blink for three minutes, her eyes widened.’ This pause and description really makes the reader know how much she wants these jewels. Fabulous!

Your story telling is brilliant too. I really enjoyed the lasers protecting the jewels and the child-sized ‘mysterious’ shadow ‘swooping’ in. I am totally hooked!

Can she save the day? I need to know!!

Perhaps next week, in the ending you could expand on her stopping Diamond as the finale? How she does it, and the guards entering? What do you think? – Maybe it could also involve Diamond’s weakness… MUSTARD! I can’t wait to find out!

I love how you have Bob hanging out in New Look! But then… WOAH! Bob the Bush has gone completely mad! His bush disguise is a great camouflage isn’t it? Great creative writing and thinking. A massive thumbs up!

Oo, I love how the world outside has changed so much. The jets ‘zooming’ past and towers falling down. You have really upped the steaks and your descriptions create atmosphere and tension. I loved how the crystals ‘duplicated’ (excellent word 😊) and became a portal – such dramatic stuff! And what a fabulously exciting entrance for The Black Knight. Goodness me, I can’t wait to find out what happened in the end. A great middle! Excellent!

I loved your descriptions this week; ‘stumbling blindly,’ and ‘dazed by the indescribable beauty of the orb.” Beautiful writing! I also loved the heavy iron gates at the orphanage… But, then, Sinthea Star gets caught by something slimy grabbing her arm! YIKES! What a totally BRILLIANT cliffhanger to end the middle of your story. So impressed with all this and excited to discover what happens next!

What a lovely set up to the middle part of your story – and a fabulous cliffhanger at the end of your very first paragraph… ‘todays adventure could ruin her life…’ I am instantly hooked. I have noticed throughout these tasks, that you are really brilliant at these intriguing openings! Fabulous.

Oo, I love your new character, ‘Sir Quentin the Geko!’ and how part of Snaky Sasha’s ‘evil face,’ is to put on false eyelashes! Ha!

Your use of speech really added to your story too, especially Snaky Sasha’s trademark “Sssss’s!”

I really enjoyed your build up using sound affects at the end, as someone unknown enters the house. Sensational – you have set up for ‘the end’ of your story perfectly. Fantastic!

I loved how you moved this story on. Tiggy Tiger was trying to be so nice to everyone – but someone has uncovered her BIG secret! A great cliffhanger and sets us up nicely for the climax next week – I can’t wait to read how this all ends! Huge congratulations!

You did so brilliantly this week! I loved your idea of Stealer Sam being afraid of water – a really great weakness! And then, just when he gets back the pen he is after… OH NO! more water!! Great. You did exactly what I asked of you. You created a fantastic cliffhanger and kept the pace moving – truly FABULOUS work! So creative. I wonder if his pet mouse Bubbles will appear in the ending. Either way, I am very excited to find out what happens next!

This is a GREAT middle! Congratulations! It is full of action and tension that left me on the edge of my seat! I want to know if Jack’s dad is going to be alright? Is he going to be able to contain Marv until the SWAT team get there? YIKES! – I am really hoping he can! A great cliffhanger – leaving me full of excitement to discover the ending next week! Excellent!

Great idea getting Mal to try to get the enchanted bracelet in this middle section of your story. I am also a big fan of disguises, so loved the dressing up as an old lady bit. Brilliant! Plus, I adored your description of her, ‘croaky dry voice,’ – perfect! Oo – but Mal really does mean business, doesn’t she? I am really worried for cheerful Zoey now – I do hope she can come through it all safely. Yikes! I can’t wait for the final instalment. Brilliant!

Wow! I love how your middle goes straight into the action! Brilliant. Deigo only just managed to overcome those monsters, didn’t he? And Deathsythe was seriously cross. Perfect.

This battle is fantastic, and best of all, you have totally set up the story for the dramatic ending. MORE MONSTERS! Great! Love this!

Oh, it’s such a pleasure to return to see how Mysterious Mark is getting on! I absolutely adored your historical setting, to me it adds SO much atmosphere! From the horse-drawn carriage, to the stormy weather, to the horses galloping along that red brick track with the stolen Sarsen Stone. I was completely captivated. Totally brilliant!

Then, I find Mysterious Mark heading to Stanmer Park to find the standing stones – TO COMPLETE THE CIRCLE! I felt totally breathless about this idea. It is SO FANTASTIC! I want to know what will happen when that last stone is put in place?!

(‘Rocky Clump,’ is this a real place at Stanmer? Wonderful. I have visited a Rocky Clump in Hollingbury, but I didn’t realise there was another one?! (perhaps we can chat about this when we all gettogether at The Dome?)

And, your ending of ‘the middle,’ gave me chills … someone else is there in the darkness. I can’t express how brilliant I find your ideas, writing and tension-building. Blown away! FANTABULOUS!

I LOVE your magic pen – I really want one! I also thought the addition of a magic rubber on the pen’s end was a great idea, so you have the ability to erase anything that you need to. Fabulous.

Your amazing cliffhanger totally took me by surprise… it’s DEADLY DAN!! Yikes! I am so looking forward to the ending! EXCELLENT.

What a brilliant start to your middle, this line is fabulous: ‘…the Red Knight was coming for the sword, but little did he know his nemesis was round the corner, lurking in the shadows…’ This sets the scene perfectly and is jam-packed with tension. Huge congratulations! I really am super impressed with your work. I also loved the heavy breathing you put in, and how the lights went out leaving everything so pitch black that Jake couldn’t even see the walls! So atmospheric and tense – I was biting my nails! What a cliffhanger!

I love how your middle is based around this super important football match between arch rivals ‘Bullies FC,’ and ‘Police FC.’ So brilliant – what great team names! You excellently set out just how important this match was to both teams, and also did a fabulous job of keeping the tension building by keeping the reader clear on the scores. Fabulous stuff!

I LOVED that the weakness potion had been purchased on EBAY – this made me chuckle! Brilliant!

I thought your story telling this week was spot on – and I can not wait to hear what happens in the end! EXCELLENT WORK!

I loved the imagery of Billy Buster putting on that black coat to go looking for the magic football – I could really picture it in my mind. A great detail, that really drew me in to the story. I LOVED the stranger snatching the ball before Billie could get to it – I really want to know who he is! And you managed to leave the middle part of your story on a great cliffhanger – Billy rugby tackling the stranger to the floor. You nailed this task. A fabulous ending to your middle that sets your story up perfectly for the ending. Great stuff. Huge congratulations!

What a fantastically visual opening to your middle. “Tragic is flying, he decides to do a loop the loop as he lands back in the forest.” BRILLIANT – I can totally see this in my mind.

I love your description of the “creepy, dark forest,” too, where he can hear all those strange noises! And then, just before he gets hold of the trophy itself, a “huge beast,” is waiting! Yikes! – and I absolutely loved the creatures “beady eyes,” watching him.

I think it was a great idea to end your middle on a battle scene. It has left me literally desperate to find out what happens next. Totally awesome work.

 That’s it from me. Your middles were FANTASTIC! I can’t wait to find out how your fantastic stories conclude!



And after the middle must come the END….. we can’t wait for the next instalment! Stay tuned…

Team AAA

Fishy goings on at Carden Primary

Hmmmmm….there’s something fishy about Carden’s third task this week… 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!)


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:

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

Team AAA


rose muddle.jpg

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.

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

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)


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.


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:

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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!!

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!)

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!

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!

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

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!

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?

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?

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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We are currently experiencing same level excitement as Charlie Bucket, you know when he peels away the foil from his golden ticket chocolate bar??!! Yes, yes, we are THAT EXCITED….. because we can now reveal the Brighton & Hove primary classes who have successfully ADOPTED THEIR 2018 AUTHOR’S…..




We are absolutely thrilled that Rob Lloyd Jones will be returning to the project to take Year 6 from Mile Oak on a fantastic adventure with his wonderful book Wild Boy.

Next up we welcome Imogen White to the project who will be introducing Carden Primary to Rose Muddle in The Amber Pendent – an exciting magical mystery full of captivating twists and turns…..

Alex Milway brings to Benfield Primary the adventures of Pigsticks, the world’s most optimistic pig, and his sidekick Harold, an over-anxious hamster in his joyous and hilarious story Pigsticks and Harrold.

And finally, M. G. Leonard will be sharing insights into her beautiful and brave Beetle Boy to Year 5 & 6 Stanford Juniors. We can’t wait!

Running for 15 years by Collected Works as a Brighton Festival project, Adopt an Author is a very special programme promoting literacy and encouraging creative writing and illustrating. Over 10 weeks children will be corresponding with their paired writers, sharing thoughts on the book and making intriguing discoveries about the creative process. Pupils will be posing questions to the authors such as – ‘what encouraged you to be a writer?’ and ‘if you were stranded on a desert island and only had two historical people for company who would you choose and why?’ – I bet that one’s got you thinking!

Please check back for updates on what is going to be a very exciting Adopt An Author 2018!