I think that it is wonderful for children to have a great time reading a book but even better if they do some fun interactive work with it also. Below is a short piece from Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow (pages 2-3), after the extract there are questions to discuss what has happened and then there is an activity to follow. Have fun.
The door shuts heavily behind me as I pull on it and then run across the empty road to the deserted beach. I try to remember my dream full of stripy clothes, fried onion smells and the tinkling circus music that makes the horses dance.
A sharp nip stings my cheek and my specs are gone. All I can see is a head resembling a dead bat moving towards me; it has to be The Toad. You can always tell him from the fake, leather jacket he wears.
Always watch your back; it will save you frantically sticking your hands out when you’ve been shoved.
I know it is Snot who has pushed me; I can hear his whiny, nasal voice shouting. Snot is The Toad’s sidekick; a dried crust of mucous always covers his face, hence the name.
I ask them for my glasses back but my voice sounds weak and I feel like an ant before a shoe takes away the daylight.
My glasses hurtle over my head and I get a short, sharp pain in my back. The Ferret cackles that he thought I was a football. Ferret is the other sidekick of The Toad. He is small with pointed teeth and omits a malodorous odour when excited. I suspect he is very excited. I swallow deeply to rid my throat of the lump in it. I dream of being Robert the Bruce – the freedom fighter who beat his oppressors. The sea rages in the background and I wish it was me with all that power and fury. I try to get up but Snot pulls my legs from beneath me and I hit the sand again.
My grandma believes in angels and when I hear the croaky voice of Toad’s mum shouting for her crumpets, I believe in them also.
The Toad answers to the name of Elvis only to his mam, as he calls her. I hear him shouting back to the croaky angel as if he too is sweet and heavenly.
The Ferret sniggers as he drops my specs in the sand. My breath comes quickly and heavily through my lips as I watch their outlines saunter away. My belly is determined to shoot my Weetabix out through my mouth and my legs want to give way beneath me. I gulp down a sob and get on with the job of finding my specs.
QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITY.
The following questions are to springboard a discussion about the piece which will highlight a child’s understanding and also help them to explore the nature of bullying.
What happens to Will when he is on the beach?
How do you think he feels?
Why do you think that Toad, Ferret and Snot treat Will in the way that they do?
What do you imagine Toad looks like? Do you like him? Why? Does Toad treat everyone like Will? How does he act towards his mum? Why do you think Toad seems to have two different types of character?
Why do you think that Will dreams of being Robert the Bruce?
ACTIVITY – The activity is to give children confidence in their own creativity and writing – oh and to have fun, of course.
Now I want you to imagine that you are Will and you come upon Toad, Ferret and Snot on the beach. Make up a conversation and act it out with your friends, brothers, sisters or mum and dad – in fact, get anyone to join in. Anything can happen – it’s your scene. Get other people to help you make up what happens – this is called improvisation and lots of actors, writers and directors use it to help explore and write scripts. There are no wrong or right answers – it’s all about being creative. If you have a camera, it is always fun to film your ideas to share with others. Have fun.
- Prologue – Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys (willblyton.com)
- Things To Do – Creating and Acting – “The Finding of the Stone.” (willblyton.com)
- Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys – Chapter Four. (loonyliterature.com)
- Writing – How do you choose a setting? (willblyton.com)
- Children’s Writing – Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys – Chapter Five. (loonyliterature.com)
- Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys – Chapter One. (willblyton.com)