Wilberfoss Primary School would like to wish everyone at the school and everyone visiting our blog….
The school closes at end of the day Tuesday 20th December and reopens to pupils on Thursday 5th January 2012.
Archive for December, 2011
Wilberfoss Primary School would like to wish everyone at the school and everyone visiting our blog….
The school closes at end of the day Tuesday 20th December and reopens to pupils on Thursday 5th January 2012.
19 12 2011
A few weeks ago, Mia in Year 6 read and reviewed Baggage; a great new graphic novel by The Etherington Brothers. Another of Mia’s great reviews, with a lot of thought and a lot of work put into it.
The Etheringtons were impressed as well, and gladly agreed to being interviewed, not just by Mia but by Owen as well, who’d read, but not yet reviewed Baggage. Thanks very much to Mia and Owen for the questions, Lauren at Random House for setting up the interview and of course, thanks to Robin and Lorenzo Etherington for taking the time to answer the questions!
Mia: How do you come up with your ideas?
Robin: Lorenzo and I enter a boxing ring and hit each other over the head with large inflatable carrots until we knock a good idea out of our ears and onto the page. Okay, so that’s not strictly true, but it sounds like fun! The original idea for any of our stories usually takes a long time to shape, with all sorts of complicated considerations influencing our decision-making process (Is it going to be funny? Is it going to be REALLY funny? No, seriously, is it REEEEEEEEEEALLY funny?). Actually, that’s about it! Until we find an idea that we both agree is amusing, Lorenzo won’t draw a thing!
Mia: Did you always want to be a comic writer and comic artist?
Robin: We always loved comics but it took a few years before we discovered that it was actually the perfect creative home for our stories and art. Now we couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
Mia: What is your favourite book (that you’ve made)?
Robin: As with any other creator, the temptation is to say your latest book (Baggage) but I’m actually going to say Long Gone Don (our new graphic novel, to be serialised in the weekly Phoenix comic, starting in January 2012). It’s so much fun to write and draw! Every new page gets us excited all over again.
(Long Gone Don – The Etherington Brothers’ new series starting in the new Phoenix Comic – first issue in January)
Mia: Do you enjoy writing and drawing the books or are they very frustrating to do?
Robin: Creating comic books is a LONG process. Each book usually takes about 8 months to create so you need a lot of patience to stay focused and enthusiastic. But after a while you realise that the slow build to a finished book is actually a lot of fun in itself. Watching it come together and take shape is brilliant.
Mia: What other books do you think I’d like?
Robin: In the world of comics there are MANY great titles to choose from – Bone, Mouse Guard and Asterix would be a superb start. Moving into illustrated novels, I’d keep my eyes peeled for our new series ‘Freaky Giblets’ coming soon. If you enjoy comedy, danger, mayhem and mystery then you’re in for a treat!
Mia:I like your books because you really pack the pages with fun and silly stuff, but with Baggage it seemed more controlled, as if you’d decided to concentrate more on Randall and his adventure than other things in the background – is this just me thinking this or did you deliberately do this?
Robin: That’s a brilliant observation! Yes, it was a purposeful decision. Monkey Nuts was created as a wacky comedy adventure strip, packed with madness at every turn (and book two continues this style) but we always wanted Baggage to focus more on the central adventure. Plus, there’s already enough nonsense going on around Randall without adding more – the pages might have burst into flames if we’d tried that!
(Just a little of the craziness going on in Baggage by The Etherington Brothers)
Owen: How long have you been writing and drawing books for?
Robin: We’ve been working together on adventure strips for about eight years, but we first started drawing and writing comics together when we were 6 and 9 years old!
Owen: How long did it take you to write Baggage? And how long did it take to draw the book?
Robin: The entire process took over a year (which is a long time, even for us!) from the first draft of the script through to finishing the cover. It’s hard to break down the art and words because we’re still tweaking the writing when we’re adding the words to the pages, but at a rough estimate, it took four months to write the script and eight months to draw every last panel!
Owen: As you are brothers does this mean you can work closer than other writers and artists or do you think you fall out more because you’re brothers?
Robin: Another brilliant question. This might sound crazy but we’ve never really fought with each other, even when we were younger. Personally, I think being brothers has helped us to forge a really close working partnership. We both understand each other’s thought processes and skills and know what we each love to write and draw the most. Before we begin creating we always spend a good length of time chatting about what we want to see on the page, and largely our ideas are the same. We’ve very lucky to work together in this way.
(Sid the Monkey and Rivet the robot from Monkey Nuts by The Etherington Brothers)
Owen: What or who inspired you to make comics?
Robin: The simple inspiration for the initial decision was a desire to work together, something we had previously tried with music and really enjoyed. Lorenzo had always drawn cartooony illustrations, but when we began creating together we started on a Children’s picture book, before realising that the format was too small to contain all our adventures. Lorenzo suggested moving to comics and I happily agreed.
Owen: And will there be anymore Baggage or Monkey Nuts comics?
Robin: Monkey Nuts 2 (BIGGER, BETTER, MORE MENTAL THAN EVER) is finished and awaiting a publishing date. The sequel to Baggage is plotted and planned and stored in my brain for possible use in the future, but until then all our energies will be piled into the epic comedy action adventure, Long Gone Don!
(The Phoenix Comic – starting in January and featuring The Etherington Brothers Long Gone Don)
Thank you again to all involved, especially Robin Etherington and our brilliant interviewers Mia and Owen.
You can read The Etherington Brothers’ Monkey Nuts and Baggage in the school library, and it’s available from all good bookshops, including Simply Books in Pocklington.
18 12 2011
The Phoenix Comic is a new weekly comic that launches in January 2012, but the publishers have released a special preview issue and sent a few copies along to our school, because they want to hear what our pupils think about it.
These sorts of things are a great way to encourage the children’s reading, but also a way to practise writing in a very different style and for a larger audience. They really like knowing that their thoughts are important, and will be seen and read by people outside the school. It also allows us to begin teaching them about the importance of creating work over several drafts, working on their piece, editing and refining it to make it something they can be proud of.
(How To Make Awesome Comics by Neill Cameron)
JAMES had this to say….
I think the overall comic was really good. I liked it because it has a wide variety of comics inside and also a lot of quizes and stories that help to get the reader involved, such as “How To Make Awesome Comics” by Neill Cameron, which was funny and interesting, and showed me how to make comics of my own.
I thought the best comics in it were The Pirates Of Pangea by Daniel Hartwell and Neill Cameron, The Apprentice by Ben Haggarty and John Welding, and Bunny Vs Monkey by Jamie Smart.
I think it is definitely worth the money and think anyone, boys and girls, would really enjoy this – 5 stars!
And I would really like it if the weekly issues came into our library!
(The Apprentice by Ben Haggarty and John Welding)
And here’s HAYDEN:
I think The Phoenix is a really good comic and very funny. I would recommend this comic to all readers because it’s a brilliant comic.
My favourite part is in Jamie Smart’s Bunny vs Monkey strip when the Bunny doesn’t know that the bear is awake and his friends have already run away.
My favourite comic character in the whole book is Captain Spaceington, the silly and not very bright Captain of the ship in James Turner’s Star Cat. I think the best comic is Star Cat I think it is very funny and surreal. I would love to read this comic again.
Out of ten I would definitely rate it ten!
(Bunny Vs Monkey by Jamie Smart)
And all this is from DANIEL – brilliant reviewing:
The Phoenix comic is excellent! I think it’s so good because most of the strips inside are fantasy and I like fantasy.
The first strip; The Pirates Of Pangaea, is full of pirates (maybe – in this first episode they’re just sailors – maybe pirates later?) looking for the island of Pangaea. Master Bosun tells Miss Sophie about the island and all of the fantastic creatures on it. And they know they’re near when Miss Sophie’s hat is stolen by a Pterodactyl!
The excerpt from “To Be A Cat” was nice to read, and made me think I might look for the book.
Star Cat by James Turner is awesome! Things happen that you wouldn’t expect to happen in a space adventure. They find out that Dark Rectangle is missing and they have to capture him and his minion Murky Hexagon (great name!).
How To Make Awesome Comics by Neill Cameron is brilliant. I think it shows you how to make great comics and I must practise! Very funny as well.
Long Gone Don I’m really looking forward to. All the creatures after him, how he survives – I’m wondering how it all starts and ends.
I really enjoyed The Apprentice. I enjoyed it because it’s set in olden times but is a very dark fantasy. In The Apprentice Ivan is working for his Master, who has to go away. But Ivan is adventurous and likes to explore – not a good idea in a wizard’s house!
Corpse Talk was very interesting. I never knew anything about Amelia Earhart before reading this, but I know about her importance to flying now.
In Bunny Vs Monkey the illustrations are a bit too cartoony for me, but I thought the idea was funny and could be funnier when Monkey arrives in the next episode.
I liked The Dangerous Adventures Of Von Doogan at the end of the comic. It’s a really fun game puzzle to play.
I’m really looking forward to the next issue, The Lost Boy looks really good and I like the sound of The Legend Of The Golden Feather!
(The Pirates Of Pangea by Daniel Hartwell and Neill Cameron)
17 12 2011
A change to the residential this year. Instead of the summer sun of previous years, it was the wet and cold of November and December for Year 6!
Mr Nevill quickly realised that his pre-packed suitcase of shorts, T-shirts and sunglasses was a mistake and spent a small fortune on sweaters and waterproofs. But aside from that little problem, everything else went brilliantly!
A brilliant, if muddy few days, lots of team exercises, lots of bonding and cooperation. And lots, and lots, of FUN!!!
Things the pupils did included…. The BIG Swing, Crate Challenge, Pirahna Pool… and much, much more.
A few of the pictures below, and more over on the school website events pages. Thanks to Mr Wragg for providing some of these great pics!
16 12 2011
A few weeks ago, Ryan in Year 6 read and reviewed James Turner’s Graphic Novel Super Animal Adventure Squad. A great review, showing just how much Ryan had enjoyed the book, and just how well he could write about it.
Well, we thought it would be nice to see if Ryan wanted to expand his repertoire from reviewer to interviewer and set him the task of coming up with some questions to ask James Turner.
We think he did a great job. Thanks very much to Ryan for coming up with some great questions, thanks to Lauren at Random House for setting up the interview and of course, thanks to James Turner for taking the time to answer the questions!
(The assembled characters of Super Animal Adventure Squad by James Turner)
Ryan: Any plans for any more SAAS?
James: When the DFC ended I was halfway through writing the next SAAS story – it was going to be about the queen being turned into a jar of pickled gherkins, and a quest for the legendary magic jar opener in the supermarket at the end of the world. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to draw it one day!
Ryan: Where did you get the names for the characters from – and are they based on anyone you know?
James: I think you can probably guess where the names for Bear-Bot and Beesley came from, and the ‘K’ in ‘Agent K’ stands for kitty (though that is top secret information, so don’t tell anyone!). I thought Rex sounded like a good lizardy sort of name (probably because of a certain dinosaur), and strangely enough Irwin is named after Steve Irwin, the late wildlife expert. I have no idea why I named him after Steve Irwin though – maybe he was just on TV when I was drawing the character…
I think all the characters are probably based on different sides of myself – Rex is my silly side, Irwin is my selfish side, Bear-Bot is my sensible side, and Beesley is my, um, mustachioed bee side? Ok, I am not really sure what Beesley is based on.
(Captain Green Beard, bad guy or merely misunderstood?)
Ryan: Did you base the storylines on something you once read – for example did you really like Treasure Island as a child – inspiration for Green Beard perhaps?
James: I don’t think that there are any specific stories that inspired Super Animal Adventure Squad, but it’s really important to read as much as you can if you want to be a writer – everything you read fills you up with little ideas which can join together to form a big idea. So really, SAAS is inspired a little bit by every book I’ve ever read!
Ryan: How did you get into making comics and graphic novels?
James: As a child I always made comics (even before I could write I would make little books of pictures telling a story), but when I grew up I didn’t have so much time for it. Then I realised one day that I couldn’t draw at all any more, so I promised myself I would draw a comic every week to teach myself to draw again. I put the comics on the internet and people seemed to like them so I kept doing it. One day a friend who knew my comics said I should send a strip to the DFC, so I sent them two pages of the Super Animal Adventure Squad and the rest is history!
Ryan: How long does it take to come up with the story from first getting it in your head to finished pages?
James: Once I have an idea I have to write the script which can either be very quick or very slow, depending on how easily the ideas come – sometimes the jokes just flow out without any work and sometimes I will be stuck for days and days.
Once I have the script there are a lot of stages to finishing the final page – first I have to roughly lay it out so that all the words and pictures can fit in each panel, then I pencil in the details, ink over the pencils, scan it into my computer and colour it in. All in all it probably takes me about 4 hours per page.
(Cover to The Phoenix Comic Issue Zero, featuring Star Cat by James Turner)
Ryan: Can you tell us a little more about what plans you have for the future – I’ve just seen the Phoenix issue zero and Star Cat looks great!
James: I am currently working hard on the first ten weeks worth of Star Cat for the phoenix comic – it’s going to be a strip about a flying cat/spaceship and the adventures of its crew. I’m also working on the scripts for a new book about some japanese characters called the Mameshiba (half bean/half dog creatures that love to tell facts), which should be out next year, and if I get the time I also have an idea for a comic called Dan Tastic, about a hero with a pig for a sidekick.
(Star Cat by James Turner – from The Phoenix Comic)
Ryan: Were you a good artist at school? I’m not that good and was wondering if there’s hope for me yet! What would you recommend I do to make my art better?
James: I liked to draw comics when I was at school, but I was never really good at art – all I wanted to do was draw little cartoons, which the teachers weren’t so impressed with as I got older! My advice for getting better at art is this: Draw, draw and draw some more! The more you practice the better you will get – every time I draw a comic I feel like I am improving just a little more.
Thank you again to all involved, especially James and Ryan.
You can read James’ Super Animal Adventure Squad in the school library, and it’s available from all good bookshops, including Simply Books in Pocklington.
14 12 2011
Mr Bruton here, just a quick introduction before we get to Isobel’s great little review of a great little book!
We love the Johnny Boo books in the school library! They’re not the longest, not the most challenging, but they’re just so much FUN!
And they’re also a perfect example of why the school library is so very important, because it’s sometimes far, far more pertinent to enthuse our children and foster a love of reading than it is to just concentrate on whether they’re writing in paragraphs yet! (Sure, paragraphs are important, but you show me a child who loves reading and eventually, trust me, they’ll get paragraphs.)
Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy
By James Kolchalka
Review by Isobel:
Johnny Boo, the best little ghost in the world, was playing with his friend Rocky the Rock and he didn’t want to play with Squiggles.
This upsets Squiggles, who went to play with a boy but he didn’t know he was mean.
The mean little boy started to catch Squiggles in his mean butterfly net. The mean little boy caught Squiggles and put him into a jar and wouldn’t let him out. What a mean little boy! Johnny Boo came to see where Squiqqles was and he saved him because he sneezed and the lid came off because the sneeze was massive!
I like the book and thought it was really funny when Johnny Boo set his friend free by sneezing!
My favourite character is Johnny Boo.
We’re very fortunate here at Wilberfoss to have the generous support not only of the pupils reading our books (and it would be a pretty poor library without them!), not only of the Friends Of Wilberfoss School contributing to our annual library replacement fund, not only the parents of our pupils supporting the library by helping us on events like our recent book drive and Christmas Fair book stall, but we also have the very, very generous support of a number of publishers and artists.
When we set up the library we posted a list of donating organisations. But since then, the donations have continued. Over the last seven months we’ve received donations from these fine, fine people and organisations….
Thank you to everyone involved in making Wilberfoss Library such a success.
13 12 2011
Thank you so very, very much for everyone who helped us in the recent book drive. Hopefully many of you will have seen the Book Drive box in the foyer overflowing with books at times!
We sorted them all out, with some going for sale at the Christmas Fair, but a total of 95 books were added to the library from YOUR donations. This means MORE books for our children to get excited about, and MORE available funds freed in the Library account to buy EVEN MORE books!
And thank you as well to those of you who stopped by the Book Stall at the recent Christmas Fair.
We’re delighted to say that the Book Stall raised over £40 for the Library fund.
12 12 2011
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat
By Dave Shelton
Dave Shelton and David Fickling Books were kind enough to send the school a pre-publication copy of A Boy and a Bear in a Boat. It’s written by Dave Shelton, whose graphic novel Good Dog Bad Dog is a perennial favourite with pupils in the school library. Mr Bruton really wanted to read the book himself, but thought it only fair to see if one of the pupils wanted to read it first (he’s going to be reading it over Christmas – because it looks wonderful!).
So Mae in Year 4 took it home, and absolutely devoured the book! She read it in just a weekend – which is a great sign, when a book is that un-put-down-able, you know it’s going to be great!
Here’s Mae’s review…..
A boy sets off for a journey with a bear and between them they have lots of adventures. Yes, a bear!
They go on a long and exciting voyage, in their boat across the water. Together they have many adventures and lots of interesting things happen, such as meeting a sea monster, ending up marooned on a rock, facing the horrible (and very dangerous) Very Last Sandwich In The World(!!!) and lots of other exciting things.
I liked it because of the excitement – I loved the way all of these exciting things just kept happening to them by accident, and it was really funny.
My favourite part of the story is when their makeshift raft flies off the rock column into the sea. But the whole book is lovely, lots of fun and has lots of lovely pictures.
If you like this book, you should maybe try Hugo Pepper because it is about a boy having lots of adventures. And of course, you should read Dave Shelton’s Good Dog Bad Dog graphic novel for funny animal detective stories!
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat is available from all good bookshops (including the excellent Simply Books in Pocklington!) from January 5th. A perfect post Christmas gift, or maybe something to spend that Christmas money on?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the support at the Christmas Fair! It was (as usual) a great afternoon, and all of the children (and adults) had a wonderful time.
We also made a wonderful total of £1653.76 – an incredible total. Thank you all again.
(Just part of an incredible cake stall!)
(The FOWS raffle stall)
(Just one of the great Year 5 & 6 stalls this year – thanks to them all for their hard work)
(And one very happy customer – the winner of the “Name The Teddy” contest – Hannah with “Alfie”)