St. Michael’s on Wyre Church of England Primary School 5th October 2010
My third school visit following the launch of White Chin was to St. Michael’s on Wyre Church of England Primary School, Garstang where I met Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Wade and talked to Years 5 & 6 about White Chin and writing and reading in general. (I am grateful to Mary Wynberg who attended for her introduction to the school and who kindly sold the books both at the school and later from her Corner Bookshop in Garstang).
I remember with much pleasure that oh so animated conversation we had about what animal would you choose if you were writing about animals. Do you remember, it was very lively and you got really excited? And you were really kind and let me have your essays on writing about animals and these are some of the wonderful ideas that came out of them. Do you remember, we had talked about the importance of trying to remember that animals have much more sharpened senses than we do?:
- the mouse looked up. It saw a bird eating a still wriggling worm in its beak. There was a smell of blood
- she saw a beautiful horse with a trailing mane and tail, reaching right down to the ground
- the fish could taste salt and through the water he could smell the predator. Then he heard….
- a gripping tale about some poachers who told lies to a vet
- and one about a tiger crossing a city with his heart in his mouth
- fantastic suspense when a cat burrows down into a mole tunnel and meets a stoat with vicious teeth covered in blood
- a brilliant description of Digger the dog being too hot for comfort
- great atmosphere as we see a fox running in the moonlight and suddenly hearing a man’s voice and it stopping him in his tracks
- a worryingly fierce encounter between a dog, a wolf and a cow!
- a cow goes out into the rain for the first time and is so scared she jumps over the man
- the glorious release of Daisy the dog who been caged all her life and her first taste of freedom
- the rabbit whose nose is assailed by 100 different smells all at once, as she eats the delicious grass and hears the hooting of the owls all around her
- Harry the fox gets very scared when the man tries to shoot him and he can smell death all around him
- Sam the hen has a frosty start to her day
- Alexander the cat asks some searching questions while hissing and spitting at the same time. “Who?” he asks “Who is he?”
- we start seeing some amazing adventures of a poisonous frog who lives in the pond
- fantastic description of an adder attacking Goldie – scary stuff!
- a truly wonderful description of take off and landing of a London pigeon in the docklands just before the boat he lands on moves into the deep, blue, wide ocean ...
- the story of Metty the hen, who tries to find her way home only to discover it has been demolished but all ends happily when she ties up with Hetty, Betty and Fetty!
- Farmer Zaccheus and Mary rescue a fox cub and their grand-daughter Lydia starts to play with him, but a dog is about to enter the story. End unknown!
- great suspense as a mouse has a terrible time as a great big enormous cat is coming closer and closer….
- a rabbit has a terrifyingly close and ultimately final encounter with a wolf
- a group of dogs, hunting dogs (?) start to attack a fox and lots of other animals as they go – no-one can help them or stop them
- a dog hears the click of traps being set in a wood and then she hears a lady let out one long terrifying scream
- a frightening encounter between a dog, a fox and a cat
- we have a deer hunt from the point of view of the deer. Very exciting and very scary
- a very tense encounter between a feisty fox and a scared young stallion
- the emergence of two goldcrest fledglings from their eggs and a great description of Marigold chipping her way to freedom – hurrah at last spring has come!
In all these collected thoughts there is much to think about. You have really drawn together the senses that an animal might feel and some of you have instinctively created a sense of suspense, we want to know what happens next! Well done and happy writing and reading.
So can I say a very very big thank you to your kind headmistress Mrs. Brough and to Mr. Wade and Mrs. Armstrong and Years 5 & 6 of October 2010 of St. Michael’s on Wyre for their really helpful input and for a lovely visit. It will be a privilege to acknowledge your contributions in the new book, MAGNIFICAT, when it is published in 2012.