Drum Roll Please……

… while I announce the winners of the ‘Family Fairy Tale Writing Competition’.

Thank you to all of you who wrote in with your extraordinary fairy-tales.  They were all amazing and unique. It was so hard to choose, but choose I must. 

I am proud to announce that this years joint lock-down 2020 winners for the ‘Family Fairy Tale Writing Competition’ are…

‘Elise and Family’… & ‘Harry and Family

You both put so much effort and originality into your stories – you stuck to the rules – you stuck to the characters – you were descriptive, using great vocabulary. You created tension and ingeniously wove in hints of different fairy-tale story-lines with strong and poignant messages. Certificates and prizes are on their way to you both.

Congratulations – and never stop writing or imagining.

Elise’s Fairy Tale

Harry and Family’s Fairy Tale

Harry and the Elves

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a boy named Harry. Harry lived and worked with his mother and father in their little shoe shop. Harry and his family were very poor but they worked hard to try and make ends meet.

The village they lived in had fallen on hard times. Not too long ago a boy named Jack had planted some magic beans and complete chaos ensued! The beans turned into a beanstalk that led to a castle in the sky where a giant lived. Jack had taken something from the giant and the giant was very angry. He chased Jack down the beanstalk but luckily Jack managed to chop it down before the giant got him. The problem was that as it fell the beanstalk and giant landed right on top of Harry’s village!

There were so many buildings damaged and lots of villagers had to re-build their homes and then of course there was the moving of huge giant to do. The giant was buried and that’s how Harry’s village came to have a huge hill in it.

There is still a huge crater in the town square where the giants head landed when he fell and people have to be very careful not to fall in it when they walk through the square. To make matters worse Jack just up and left with his mother, cow (he bought him back apparently!) and new found riches and didn’t even help to clean up his own mess!

But back to Harry.

Harry worked in his mother and father’s shop and learnt how to be a good shoemaker. He worked very long and hard hours but the family still struggled to make enough money.

One day Harry’s father came into the shop holding a brown package. Inside the package was a piece of leather.

‘I have used the last of our money to buy this leather. It is only enough to make one pair of shoes. This could be the last pair of shoes we ever make in the shop’ Harry’s father said sadly.

‘I’ll make them father’ said Harry.

‘Just try your best’ said Harry’s mother giving him a kiss on the head.

It was getting late now so they said goodnight to each other and Harry’s mother and father left him in the workshop and made their way upstairs to bed. Harry worked long and hard designing the perfect pair of shoes and eventually had his design just how he wanted it. He mustered enough energy to cut the leather but he was so tired he left the cut leather on the table.

‘I’ll finish them first thing in the morning’ he yawned as he climbed the stairs to bed.

‘Oh my goodness’ exclaimed Harry’s mother

‘Why they are perfect’ cried his father.

Harry awoke at his parent’s exclamations and raced downstairs to see what all the fuss was about.

As he entered the room he saw his father holding up a pair of finished boots that matched his design.

‘You finished them’ Harry cried, marvelling at the boots.

Harry’s mother and father looked at each other and then back at Harry.

‘We thought you did’ said his mother.

‘No’ replied Harry. ‘I was too tired so I just cut the leather and went to bed ready to finish them this morning’.

‘How strange’ said Harry’s mother.

‘I must they are fine boots and I’m going to put them in the shop window’ said Harry’s father.

No sooner had he placed them in the window than a man rushing down the street stopped and stared at them. He entered the shop and asked to see the boots and try them on. Harry’s mother rushed to the boots and took them to the man whilst Harry grabbed a small rectangular mirror and held it near the man’s feet so he could see what the boots looked like on his feet. The man pointed his toes looking in the mirror and took a walk around the small shop.

‘I’ll take them’ said the man.

Harry’s mother took the boots and wrapped them neatly in brown paper and string.

‘Here you go’ said the man handing some coins to Harry.

Harry looked at the coins in his hand and then at his parents in amazement.

‘I think that’s a fair price’ said the man, he took his boots all neatly wrapped and left.

‘Wow’ gasped Harry.

‘We have been blessed’ cried his mother.

The amount of money the man had paid for his boots was far greater than the usual amount the family got for their shoes.

‘I’ll get some more leather’ said Harry’s dad. He left the shop with the money and returned later with more leather and also some food for a nice family dinner.

‘We have enough leather for 2 pairs of shoes now’ said Harry.

‘You get designing Harry and we will make dinner’ said his mother.

His mother and father left to get on with dinner and Harry got to work. He worked very hard and it was getting quite late when his mother appeared again.

‘’Come and get some dinner, you’ve been working so hard you must be hungry’.

‘I’ll just cut the leather and I’ll be right there’ said Harry just as his tummy let out a loud growl.

He cut the leather and went to have his dinner. With his tummy now full his eyes started to feel heavy and he had become very tired.

‘I’ll finish the shoes in morning’ he thought sleepily to himself.

‘Harry it’s happened again’

Harry’s eyes sprang open and he jumped out of bed at the sound of his father’s voice and raced down the stairs.

Sure enough on the table were two pairs of shoes in his exact design.

‘But how?’ Harry asked bewildered.

‘I don’t know, but let’s get to the bottom of it’ replied his father.

His mother busied herself putting the shoes in the window whilst the two of them thought about how to find out what was happening.

A few minutes later the man from the day before returned and came into the shop.

‘Those boots and shoes in the window, can I buy them please?’ he said.

‘Of course’ answered Harry.

‘Great, my friend admired my boots yesterday and would like a pair. His last pair got damaged fighting his way through thorns to deliver true loves kiss. His boots were in complete tatters afterwards!’

‘Oh my’ said Harry’s mother ‘does he need these shoes too?’ she asked as she packaged the boots and shoes up.

‘Oh no’ said the man ‘They are for me. The prince is having a ball tonight; he’s invited all the maidens in the land to see if he can find a wife. I thought the shoes would be a touch more formal than my boots’.

‘Sounds like fun’ enthused Harry.

Harry’s mother handed the man his wrapped packages and the man paid a princely sum for them both.

‘Say boy’ the man called as he neared the shop door. ‘Why don’t you come along with me to the ball?’

‘Why thank you sir’ Harry beamed ‘but I ‘m afraid I must stay here and make more shoes’.

‘Very well, good day’ and with that the man was gone.

The family chattered excitedly about the man’s offer of the ball and the great amount of money he had paid for the boots and shoes.

‘We must find out who is finishing your designs’ said Harry’s mother.

‘Quite right’ his father chimed in.

‘I have an idea’ said Harry. ‘Tonight I’ll design the shoes and cut the leather as normal but instead of leaving for bed I’ll hide behind the curtain and see what happens.

‘Great idea’ agreed his father.

‘I’ll hide with you’ said his mother.

So later that day Harry’s father left the shop and came back with enough leather this time for six pairs of shoes. He had his dinner and went to bed. Harry and his mother worked hard on the designs for the shoes and cut the leather and laid them out the table. Next instead of going to bed they both hid silently behind the dusty green curtain that separated the shop from their house.

It was very late when suddenly two tiny little elves appeared at the window. They jumped from the window and hurried across the floor to the table which they climbed up quick as a flash. Harry and his mother stared silently taking note of their tiny little clothes and tiny little shoes.

The elves looked at the designs on the table, and then in a whirlwind of activity got to work. Jumping, running, sewing and binding until in no time at all the new shoes were all made.

The two little elves jumped and hugged each other in celebration at what they had done. They gave a giggle and then poof they were gone.

Harry and his mother looked at each other with mouths agape in total wonderment of what they had just witnessed.

‘Elves!’ exclaimed Harry.

‘They’ve made all six pairs of shoes’ cried Harry’s mother picking them up in turn and inspecting them.

‘But why?’ said Harry.

They both took a moment to think but neither could come up with an answer.
‘Did you see their tiny clothes’ asked Harry’s mother. ‘The poor little things will freeze to death come winter’

‘I know’ thought Harry ‘you can make them some clothes and I’ll make them some shoes. We’ll leave them on the table tonight as a thank you to them’.

With the plan in place Harry and his mother climbed the steps to their beds for some much needed sleep.

In the morning Harry took some money and set off towards the tailor shop. He walked carefully through the town square (so as to not trip into the giant’s crater) and soon he arrived at the tailors.

When he got there he walked in and the little bell rang over the door announcing him into the shop. He looked around the shop and got a very big shock.
There in the middle of the shop was an emperor completely naked but walking around like he was in his best finery. Shocked Harry opened his mouth to speak but just as he did one of the tailors rushed over and ushered him to the side of the shop.

‘Erm….. Why is he naked?’ whispered Harry.

‘The emperor is here to get measured for his new clothes’ replied the tailor ‘now, how may I help you?’

Harry told the tailor what fabrics his mother needed, paid and quickly left the shop.

When he returned his mother got to sewing a beautiful tiny dress, trousers, shirts, coats and even knitted the tiniest scarves and mittens that he had ever seen. Harry and his father got on with making the tiny shoes and boots.

At the end of the day the family were tired but very happy with everything they had made. They laid the clothes, boots and shoes neatly on the table and they all hid behind the green curtain again and waited.

Sure enough, later that evening the elves appeared at the window again and made their way over to the table.

‘Daisy, look a new dress for you’ said the elf.

‘And new trousers and shirt for you Freddie’. Said the other elf.

Freddie and Daisy the elves tried on the clothes, boots and shoes and danced with excitement and glee.

‘These clothes are so beautiful’ gushed Daisy.

‘And warm’ added Freddie.

Freddie and Daisy gathered up all the items, gave a little giggle and then poof they were gone again.

Harry and his family emerged from their hiding place with a big smile on their faces.

After that night the elves would come and help the family every now and then and Harry and his family in return made new clothes and shoes for the elves.
Harry and his family never struggled to make money again. The elves had truly helped them by making that first pair of shoes purely out of kindness for the struggling family.

The man who bought the shoes told everyone at the ball about them and from then on the shop was always busy. Harry will forever be grateful for the kindness and help the elves showed to him and his family. The elves will also be forever thankful to the family for the beautiful clothes they gift them.

As for Harry’s village it began to prosper as people started to come from far and wide to see the giant’s head crater and climb the giant’s hill. Maybe Jack wasn’t so bad after all!

Everyone lived happily ever after.

Congratulations again Elise and Harry. Have a wonderful summer holiday’s everyone and I’ll see you in September – fingers crossed face-to-face!

Stay Safe.

Mrs Kinton’s Book Club – Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (Chapters 16-18)

Hi everyone – hope you’re all doing okay and are still managing to keep up with some reading here and there. I’ve left off updating the chapters for a couple of weeks for some of you to be able to catch up. I love that so many of you are enjoying it and sharing your thoughts with me in school. Please feel free to share them here too if you’re not in school yet, we’d all love to get your opinion on how you’re interpreting the story. For those of you who love writing, creating, imagining and winning prizes, head over to my last post, which tells you all about the ‘Family Fairy Tale Writing Competition’ which I launched last week. The deadline to submit is the 17th July 2020 – so there’s still plenty of time to get scribbling. So… without further ado, let’s get on with chapters 16-18 of Charlotte’s Web – it’s getting tense!

Chapter 16 – Off to the Fair

  1. The night before the fair, everyone seems to dream about what might happen.  Fern dreams she gets sick on the swings!  She doesn’t dream about Wilbur, which makes me wonder if he has become less important to her than he once was.  Have you ever been to a fair and got sick on a ride?  Which is your favourite ride at the fair?
  • The morning of the fair is all hustle and bustle!  Everyone is busy readying things in one way or another.  Right at the last minute Charlotte and Templeton decide to join Wilbur in his crate.  Why do they suddenly decide to go to the fair with him?
  • Wilbur is once again horrified at the thought of being eaten!  Fainting when he overhears Mr. Arable’s remark about what good bacon and ham he will make.  Once revived, Wilburn makes an almighty fuss about being put into the crate, which ultimately reassures the humans that his is not in fact sick at all.  Why do you think Wilbur does this?

This chapter feels like there’s a real sense of change about to occur.  There is repetition of occurrences of the before and after.  It’s a pivotal point of everything that has been and all that will occur.

Chapter 17 – Uncle

  1. Wilbur, and the unseen Charlotte and Templeton, arrive at the fair.  There is no real explanation as to why Wilbur has been taken to the fair, and it is only in this chapter that we learn that farmers take livestock to rural fairs to enter them into competitions and to be judged.  Have you ever been to a farmers fair?
  • Charlotte’s Web is set in rural America during the 1950’s.  The reader can see this through the ‘one-ounce candy bar’ only costing a ‘nickel’.  They cost far more now-a-days.  Fern and Avery instantly start asking for spending money and get given 70 cents.  If you went to a fair, how much money do you think you would be given to play with and would you be allowed to run off with just a warning to be careful? 
  • Crowds watch as Wilbur is put into a temporary pen, which has a much bigger pig called ‘Uncle’ in the pen next door.   Charlotte crawls over to Uncle’s pen to investigate him more closely and concludes that he’s ‘going to be a hard pig to beat.’  Have you ever entered a competition? 

With all the readers and the humans within the book now believing that Wilbur truly is a remarkable pig – and with him now being compared to Uncle, which seems quite unpleasant – it’s hard to believe Wilbur even has the slightest chance in winning.  Many fairgoers stop to see Wilbur and are impressed by him but seem more impressed by Uncle’s size.  But E.B. White doesn’t worry the reader too much with Uncle’s better chances – just because he is bigger – doesn’t’ necessarily mean he is better. 

Chapter 18 – In the Cool of the Evening

  1. That evening Templeton sets off to investigate the fair.  Charlotte asks him to bring back a word, adding she’ll be writing her last web-word tonight.  She mentions this a few times throughout this chapter but nobody seems to take notice.  Since Templeton fails to respond and Wilbur is asleep, nobody questions her.  How did it make you feel and what did you think Charlotte meant by it?  Why do you think this will be the last time Charlotte writes in her web?
  • On his return, Templeton unrolls the piece of paper, revealing the word ‘Humble’.  What does this word mean?
  • Charlotte repeatedly says that she’s too tired to sing and too tired to talk, she can only concentrate her energy on creating the word in her web.  Here even Wilbur starts to notice Charlotte’s increasing frailty.  Have you ever felt so tired you couldn’t talk?  What do you think is happening to Charlotte in this chapter?

While all this is going on in the crate, Fern is too busy growing up to even think about Wilbur.  Mrs Arable is delighted when her daughter runs off to the Ferris wheel with her friend Henry Fussy and when she announces later at home that she has had the best time she’s ever had ‘anywhere or any time in all of [her] whole life’, it becomes clear to the reader that poor Wilbur has moved down her ‘best times’ list since chapter 15, where he was noted as her favourite living thing.  There is such a feeling of change in these chapters – which in some ways feels quite unsettling – but as with all things in life nothing is permanent, change is unavoidable and inevitable and although the unknown is often scary, it’s not always bad – more often than not, a lot of good comes from change.

Can’t wait to hear what you all thought about these three chapters. 

See you next week for the final four chapters 19, 20, 21 and 22.  Any recommendations for our next book would be wonderful.

#KS2 #LoveReading #KeepReading #BookClub #AmReading

Family Fairy Tale Writing Competition!

After the ‘Fairy Tale Quiz’ illumination, and now I know you know so much about the world’s most meaningful yet strange traditional tales, how about having a go at penning and showcasing your own?!

Everyone can take part.  Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours and if you’re one for talking to animals, even your pets could help out.

  • You could recreate and put your own stamp on a classic tale, a famous fable or folklore story, with a modern-day twist.
  • Or you could create your very own original fairy tale following the fairy tale rules (which I will explain shortly). 
  • Maybe you could write yourself into the story, use local or familiar locations, or twist the tale to relay a personal interest in a unique way.
  • You could even mix-up characters from different fairy tales, to bring them together in a new story, like they did in the musical ‘Into the Woods’ – wonderful film and show if you ever get to see it. 
  • Again… there will be prizes.
  • The winning story and three runners up will be announced and published on July 17th July 2020
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is happily-ever-after.jpg

From ‘kissing a few frogs’, to simply ‘finding our happily ever after’ all of us, including grownups, delight in reading, watching and singing these fantastical tales.  Modern and grownup rom-coms mirror these stories, which we all fell asleep to as children, not to mention them highlighting the real-life excitement we all feel when it comes to any kind of royal wedding, especially here in England!  We are all clearly still hooked. We can all relate to them. Especially when the stories gets down to the more troll and ogre-packed realities of daily life.

So, what do we need to do to create our own fairy tale?  Well, all fairy tales include certain basic elements or, for the purpose of this competition, ‘RULES!’  There are certain rules that you should try hard to follow to gain extra marks from the judges.

Rule 1:        Begin with ‘Once upon a time,’ ‘Long ago,’ or ‘Once there was a’ – so no real ‘time’ or ‘era’ is fixed.

Rule 2:        The story takes place in a faraway land.

Rule 3:        Things tend to happen in threes and sevens in fairy tales (three bears in Goldilocks, three wishes in Aladdin, seven dwarfs in Snow White)

Rule 4:        Wishes are often granted.

Rule 5:        There are often otherworldly characters such as dragons, fairies, elves, giants or talking animals.

Rule 6:        There are magical elements such as magic beans, fairy dust and rings, harps, a wardrobe, or even surviving being swallowed whole by a ‘big bad wolf’!

Rule 7:        A difficult problem is solved at the end of the story – as with most stories. 

Rule 8:        There is a wedding and often royal characters such as kings and princesses.

Rule 9:        Good triumphs over evil.

Rule 10:      The story ends ‘happily ever after‘.

Extra support on how to write a fairy tale

1. The hero

The hero is usually someone humble, innocent, or kind-hearted. As you talk about familiar fairy tales, point out how the ‘good’ character is someone the reader cares about—the hero of the story!

Examples: Aladdin, Snow White, Rapunzel, the Three Little Pigs

2. The villain

There is always someone who has wicked intentions in a fairy tale.  This is the villain and the villain teaches the reader one of life’s most important lessons – that there are wicked people in the world.  I believe it’s not always helpful to let children believe the world will always go their way and be easy or that every person has good intentions.  The villain will usually want to control or harm the main character because they either want something they have, or need to get rid of them to gain power.  They usually have magic powers to do this. 

Examples: Jafar in Aladdin wanted the princess and power, Ursula in the little Mermaid wanted the mermaid’s voice, Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty wanted revenge for being banished. 

3. The magical element

Most fairy tales include a magical ingredient.  Choose a character to befriend or guide your hero, or add a magic element that helps your hero and enchants your story.  This could be including those magic numbers of three or seven.

Examples: Fairy godmothers, genie in a magic lamp, three wishes or enchanted objects.

4. The faraway land

Where your story is set is very important.  A forest could be a tranquil setting with woodland creatures and patches of sunlight in a grassy clearing, or it could be sinister and dark forest with nocturnal carnivores lurking about.

Examples: under the sea, a forest, castle, tower, cottage, garden, caves or deep in a mine. It’s your world – so you choose.

5. The lesson

A fairy tale usually teaches us a lesson about good conduct or good character.

Examples: loyalty, bravery, kindness, integrity, hard work, sacrifice

6. The challenge

Your hero will need to face a challenge. They might be on a quest where they have to overcome obstacles to get to a destination.  There may be a character to rescue or a curse to break, or the main character may need to find true love.

Examples: Snow White must stay safe from the evil queen, the giant wants to eat Jack, true love will break the Beast’s spell 

7. The happy ending

It isn’t a fairy tale without a happy ending! How is the challenge resolved? What leads to happily ever after? How does the villain get what is coming to him?

Examples: The glass slipper fits Cinderella’s foot, the Beast turns back into a prince, the Ugly Duckling turns into a lovely swan

Fairy tales make it clear to the reader that this isn’t the real world.  The characters are unfamiliar and otherworldly just as the far away land is… but the problems and feelings the characters face are often very real.  Fairy tales are a bit like ‘social stories’, which help to reiterate important life lessons such as, those around behaviour, and basic morality, giving children a way to imaginatively and safely live and experience certain real-life problems. It helps them to understand some really confusing and difficult feelings that they may struggle to articulate.  And yet, these happily-ever-after stories are so reassuring and ever so hopeful, showing us that somehow, no matter how dire the situation or problem is, everything will be alright in the end.

I’m not interested in spelling or grammar – handwriting or sentence structure. What I am interested in is creativity and imagination, plot and story. I want you to make me feel part of your tale, to grip me and teach me. So, doodle and google, write-freely and most importantly have fun, be playful and light. For all storytelling is communication and good communication is the fuel for life.

Happy Writing and Good Luck!

Mrs Kinton’s Book Club – Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (Chapters 13-15)

So, with many of us back to school, which is wonderful (it’s been so lovely to see all your smiling faces again) I understand you’ll be very tired and your reading may slow down a bit.  Life is regaining something that looks a little bit more like ‘normal’ for some.  For those of you who are still at home, you’re not forgotten and I will still be continuing on with our book club for you, as well as coming up with other ‘creative’ and ‘wordy’ ideas to keep your imaginations alight and your curiosity inspired.  So without further ado, let’s get on with looking at chapters 13-15 of the wonderful Charlotte’s Web.  The questions I’ve asked force you to dig a little bit deeper but I hope they are making you look between E.B. White’s words with admiration and wonder.

Chapter 13 – Good Progress

  1. While Wilburn sleeps, Charlotte sets about changing the word in her web from ‘Some Pig’ to ‘Terrific’.  She cheers herself along as she works.  Why do you think it’s important to cheer yourself along whilst you’re trying to do something challenging on your own?  Do you do it? I know I do.
  2. Lurvy, once again discovers the word in the web and before long it is announced publicly for the world to view.  The Zuckerman’s start to treat Wilbur differently, changing his straw regularly and arranging for the ‘famous pig’ to visit the county fair.  But E.B. White sees no reason to shield his readers from the smelly reality of farming – ‘so he pushed the straw to one side and stretched out in the manure’.  Do you think fame will change Wilbur?  It certainly seems to be changing the Zuckerman’s.  Can you think of any famous people, whose fame has gone to their heads and spoiled them?
  3. Charlotte knows that finding the best word to write in her web is of great importance.  E.B. White continues to play with words and language here.  Charlotte emphasises how words have different meanings and she therefore rejects the word ‘crunchy’, as inappropriate because it conjures up the idea of crispy bacon and she orders Templeton to go back to the rubbish dump to find a more appropriate word.  They finally settle on the word radiant.  What does this word mean and do you think it a fitting word to describe Wilbur?

When I finished reading this chapter I was curious as to why E.B. White ended it with ‘Fern got up and went home.’  He has never done this before, the reader just assumes Fern goes home at the end of the chapters in which she appears. Charlotte’s bedtime stories about her cousins help Wilbur to settle and before long he is asleep.  It would have been perfectly acceptable to conclude the chapter with the sentence, ‘But Wilbur was already asleep’.  Having already read the entirety of the book, I think E.B. White wanted to pin-point the moment where Fern begins to change.  Chapter 13 is the last time readers see Fern visit the barn.  She’s going home to her human-beings. 

Chapter 14 – Dr. Dorian

  1. Mrs Arable is worried about Fern and wishes her daughter would play with other children outside instead of watching the barn animals day after day.  When Fern recounts the story about the fish caught in the web her mother decides to visit Doctor Dorian.  Do you think this was a sensible thing for Mrs Arable to do and if so why?
  2. The doctor remains calm and very open-minded about Fern being able to talk to animals.  To me he seems more of a ‘Sigmund Freud’, who was an Austrian doctor of mental health issues who studied the conscious and unconscious mind, back in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.  He doesn’t seem like the stereotypical doctor looking at physical illnesses.  E.B. White seems ahead of his time referring to a mental health doctor, who are now commonplace in our era.  Do you think it’s important to talk about mental health and why?
  3. Why do you think that Mrs Arable considers Fern’s behaviour abnormal and worrying but Avery, her little brother’s behaviour, full of mischief, no imagination and destructiveness, is totally normal and perfectly acceptable and goes unquestioned in any way?  Mrs Arable says ‘Avery is always fine’.

Did you know that the names Homer and Dorian are names from the ‘Ancient Greek’ civilisation, which relate to literature and education?  I love the fact that Doctor Dorian is ready to believe Fern about animals talking and insists to Fern’s mother that there is nothing wrong with her.  Again E.B. White points out that nature is the true miracle in life

Chapter 15 – The Crickets

  1. The crickets have started singing, which is a sign that autumn is on its way.  Fern and Avery are aware school will start soon, the sheep fret and break lose, and Charlotte knows she has little time left.  Only Wilbur seems cheerfully ignorant.  How do you know autumn is coming where you live and how does it make you feel?
  2. Charlotte tries to explain to Wilbur that she may not be able to go to the fair with him but Wilbur brushes her words aside.  When Charlotte says she might be able to come after all, Wilbur reply’s ‘I knew you wouldn’t forsake me just when I need you most’.  Do you think this is selfish of Wilbur? What else does it say about his changing character?

This chapter seems to open on a vaguely threatening note to me.  There is a great sadness in the cricket’s song and it seems to me like a warning.  Human or not, everyone is feeling worried by what is to come.  Wilburn however, seems like a first-born child when he hears the news that Charlotte will be laying eggs.  Charlotte, like a parent, is patient with Wilbur but something is definitely shifting in their relationship.  As the crickets keep saying, things are about to change and Charlotte seems to be preparing Wilburn for that change. 

Can’t wait to hear what you all thought about these three chapters. 

See you next week for chapters 16, 17, and 18. 

Mrs Kinton’s Book Club – Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (Chapters 10-12)

Mrs Kinton's Book Club 1

I hope you’re all still enjoying reading Charlotte’s Web.  I know a lot of you are reading it alongside other books which is amazing.  I often have a couple of books on the go.  At the moment I am dipping in and out of a well-read book called ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and I’m also reading George Orwell’s ‘1984’.  So, let’s take a look at chapters 10, 11 and 12 of Charlottes Web and see if you can answer some of these questions.

 Chapter 10 – An Explosioncharlottes web

  1. After waiting patiently for an idea, Charlotte suddenly realizes how she can save Wilbur’s life.  All she needs to do is play a trick on Mr Zuckerman. ‘If I can fool a bug,’ she thinks, ‘I can surely fool a man.’  Have you ever played a trick on someone – if so how?
  2. A little later, Fern and her brother, Avery, wander over to the farm.  After pestering their aunt for a few minutes, they head to the barn to use the rope swing and then pick raspberries.  Finally, Fern decides to visit Wilbur.  Have you ever visited a farm and if so what adventures did you get up to?
  3. I nearly forgot about the rotten egg which E.B. White added into Chapter 6.  But E.B. White planned very well and planted the rotten egg there for this very moment.  When the children reach the pigpen, Avery notices Charlotte in her web.  He attempts to catch her but loses balance (thank goodness), landing on Wilbur’s trough. The rotten goose egg under the trough explodes, and a terrible smell fills the air.  Have you ever smelt a rotten egg?  Could you describe what it smells like?

When I read this chapter I learnt a lot about Avery’s character.  When we first meet him he is ‘heavily armed’ and in this chapter, we learn his complete disregard for animal’s feelings – he just wants the creature – spider or frog.  He doesn’t seem to know that animals can talk and none of the barn-animals attempt to call Avery away from trying to reach Charlotte.  Thank goodness E.B. White had planted the rotten goose egg to stop Avery in his tracks.  I also thought a lot about how E.B. White portrays Templeton.  His obnoxious traits seem to shrink and his pride seems to swell as his rotten egg saves the day.

Chapter 11 – The MiracleCharlottes Web Quote

  1. Why do you think this chapter is called ‘The Miracle’?
  2. The next day is foggy.  When Lurvy brings Wilbur’s breakfast, he notices Charlotte’s web, which is glistening with dew.  Then he notices in the centre of the web the words ‘SOME PIG’.  What would you do if you saw a word spun into a spider’s web?
  3. The farmers and their families seem impressed by what Charlotte has written and agree that Wilbur certainly is ‘SOME PIG’.  Charlotte’s plan is beginning to work.  Both the minister and Mr Zuckerman chose to publicise the miracle and, to me, seem to use the news to boost their own self-importance.  The Zuckerman’s change Lurvy’s job, with his main task being to feed Wilbur in front of an audience and the minister preaches a sermon about the web.  Do you think this fuss is what Charlotte expected or wanted and do you think this settles Wilbur’s safety issues?

The Minster preaches that the words in the web are ‘the coming of wonders’ basically a ‘miracle’, which, we, the readers know, the words prove no such thing.  We know that Charlotte had planned the entire event.  Mr Zuckerman and the minister are trying desperately to understand and give meaning to the event, which they can never ever understand.  Nature itself is the real miracle here.

Chapter 12 – A Meeting

  1. Charlotte calls a barn meeting.  She needs a new word to spin into her web.  They terrificsettle on the word ‘terrific’ but Wilbur says he is not terrific.  Charlotte then tells Wilbur ‘that doesn’t make a particle of difference’ and explains that ‘people believe almost anything they see in print’.  What does Charlotte mean by this and do you think that it’s true?  Do people believe almost anything they see in print and can you give an example?
  2. Templeton does not seem to be a character that can be changed.  When asked to forage for old bits of advertisements for Charlotte to find a new word to spin, he refuses to go, until the oldest sheep points out that if Wilbur dies, he won’t have any leftover slops to eat.  ‘Wilbur’s destiny and your destiny are closely linked’ the old sheep explains.  Other than both Templeton and Wilbur loving food and being quite greedy creatures, what else do you think links them?

 I think this chapter shows the other barn animals really coming together for Wilbur.  The old sheep is kinder than the last time we met her.  E.B. White also seems to be creating a sense of Charlotte running an advertising campaign based on human gullibility or naivety, which I love.  Adverts and miracles can stem from the same force when people are led to really believe in something, just as this book does with pushing compassion and understanding.

Can’t wait to hear what you all thought about these three chapters.

See you next week for chapters 13, 14, and 15.