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Year 3 Adopt an Author project 2022

with the awesome Guy Bass

guy 2
stitch head copies

Who.....? What.....? How.....?

Year 3 are incredibly lucky that over the past 6 years, we have domesticated and tamed our very own 'real-life' author. Every year, the project changes little by little, but the aim is to use the fantastic story of Stitch Head, by Guy Bass, to teach and boost reading and writing engagement across the whole year group.

Guy has written such a fabulously, wonderfully, hilarious book filled with excitement, adventure and intrigue that no one can fail to be brought along in its fantastic wake. The book, and subsequent 'challenge o'clocks', engages proficient writers who want to learn and improve their storytelling skills; to reluctant writers who suddenly find that they can write things that make people laugh and by following some simple steps can be inspired by a real author to create a story of their own. We spend just over half a term reading the story, writing to Guy Bass through email (using our computing lessons on safe email to help us) and getting real-time feedback on work that is sent. The reaction of children when their work is commented on by a real author is incredible to see. It is a wonderful project that children and teachers look forward to and get excited about. 

So how does this 'tame author' adoption work? 

Every week we write to Guy. One or two children from a class are chosen to be the emailers, and this is a great honour to be someone who takes the ideas and questions of a whole class to the computer of the incredible Mrs Winter who has been our guide to the slightly mad and wild world of Guy. Once the email is created it is sent, often containing examples of fantastic work that has been created in our step by step approach to writing an awesome story, and the wait for the reply begins........Then, as if by magic, a reply from Guy will appear in our classrooms and we can enjoy the craziness that he encourages in us all. This year, his pet octopus Dandy Bandana has taken over the typing for Guy and then we have all kind of hilarity reading the replies. At the end of Guy's reply, he sets his Challenge O'Clock. The class then have the next week to complete Guy's challenge so that we can send the excellent examples of work off for perusal by Guy (and Dandy).

The documents that follow on this page show some of our emails and work with Guy.

Week 1

We recieved our first email from Guy, which was very exciting!

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With our first Challenge o'Clock set, we were off to work!

Our first email to Guy

Hello Guy, 

We are in 3W and our names are Charlie  (I like playing football and basketball) , Cherry ( I LOVE playing games) and Phoebe (I like playing with my sister). 

 We were wondering how many books you have written now? 

Do you like reading books? If so, what is your favourite book? 

What is your favourite food? 

What is your favourite film? 

Do you like football? 

What is your favourite song? 

Do you like Dodgeball? 

 

We are going to be learning about the rainforests of South America. Have you ever written a book that is set in a rainforest? 

Who do you enjoy spending time with? 

Who is your favourite character in Stitch Head? 

Do you like tennis? 

Do you enjoy writing? 

Do you have a BESTEST FRIEND and who is it? 

What is your favourite plant? We have just performed our own experiment where we cut off parts of a plant to see if it survives. "GGRRRROOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!" 

Do you like making things? 

What is your favourite drink? 

Do you have a favourite place and where is it? 

Do you like going out on holidays? 

 

Sorry for so many questions but we just LOVE to find out all about you. 

From Charlie, Cherry and Phoebe 

 

Hope you enjoy some of our year group's work 

Year 3 pupils in 3W 

 

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Week 2 - Guy's reply to the work and questions we sent

Screenshot 2022-05-13 23.50.40(1)

Dear Charlie, Cherry, Phoebe, and assorted creations of Year 3, 

  

Thanks for sending over your monstrously monstrous creations – I got a real kick out of learning more about them. I loved how much variety there was! 

  

Elodie 

“It’s in the dungeon, trying to set the other monsters free!” is a fantastic line. It does a lot with a few words - we understand Stitch Head’s predicament and that the stakes are high. Quick tip: you can make a sentence punchier by replacing “Stitch Head ran around its legs (which were giant)” with “Stitch Head ran around its giant legs” – easy! 

  

Alex G 

What a horror! This is one of the most marvellously menacing descriptions I’ve ever read: “it had a body that looked like it had been sliced in half, his mouth was full of blood and pigs’ meat. His head was covered in disgusting worms.” 

  

Alex A 

I loved your monster’s many eyes. The menace is great. I also like the way we see the result of the monster’s rampage at the same time as Stitch Head, helping to build tension. 

“At the far end, there was a heap of unbreakable glass” 

  

Hope 

Your creation looks quite cute, but what a monster it turns out to be! I love the way you ramp up the tension with this sentence: 

“The grating creaked with the powerful grip of its fists. All at once, Stitch Head heard the hinge pop.” 

  

Carter 

The Snaper’s quest to find water is another brilliantly tense line! It spells so much trouble for Stitch Head in only three short sentences: “Its tail was already smashing the poison jars. It was climbing on the roof with its sharp claws. It was trying to find water.” 

  

Josh 

Your description of the monster is fantastically surreal. I love how it’s absurd and sinister at the same time! 

‘…it had a long, long piggy tail with one big ear and a small ear. It also had T-rex arms, a letter box mouth, and a pizza hat.” 

  

Nate 

Way to raise the stakes, Nate. You’ve given the reader a whole book’s worth of problems in this passage. Efficient, tense, terrific. 

“By the time Stitch Head had woken, he didn’t have a second to lose. He ran into the castle and the professor was GONE. He rushed back to the dungeon and poking his head through the hole where he saw the creature had hold of the professor and was heading to the town.” 

  

Solstice 

You win my Best Sentence Award, Solstice, simple as that. This is wonderful: 

“Suddenly it turned as quick as a blink” 

  

Oakley 

You really put Stitch Head through the ringer. I really wanted to know more about what it was like to be inside Stinger’s nostril. A brilliant idea – I wish I’d thought of it! 

“He anxiously climbed the creature’s large tree trunk leg and jumped into its scaly nostril.” 

  

And thanks, too, for your questions (and please don't apologise for sending so many. I'm not going to apologise for sending one extra answer - see below.) 

  

We were wondering how many books you have written now? 

39. I've just started writing my 42nd manuscript. 

  

Do you like reading books? If so, what is your favourite book? 

Yes! When I was younger, I didn't read a lot of books as I found them quite intimidating, but there were a few books that I loved, that I'd read over and over. I still re-read books now, but I don't think I could pick a favourite - I've read quite a few books 'cause I'm crusty old like your nan. 

  

What is your favourite food? 

Almost anything pressed betwixt two slices of bread. It's the latest thing from Europe, that those in the know are calling 'the sand-wich'. 

  

What is your favourite film? 

Jaws. Watch it when you're a bit older. From behind the sofa.  

  

Do you like football? 

Never heard of it. 

  

What is your favourite song? 

Weird Fishes by Radiohead. I'm also very partial to a power ballad. 

  

Do you like Dodgeball? 

I like dodge-anything. I'm less keen on Sitting-Target-Ball. 

  

We are going to be learning about the rainforests of South America. Have you ever written a book that is set in a rainforest? 

Not yet, but I love jungle-themed adventures. I'm a massive fan of Tarzan and Lee Falk's The Phantom. I'd love to go to South America. I was planning a trip before the pesky pandemic, so it's high on my list of places to visit. 

  

Who do you enjoy spending time with? 

My wife, family and friends. Occasionally, though not necessarily, at the same time. 

  

Who is your favourite character in Stitch Head? 

Arabella 

  

Do you like tennis? 

Yep! Watching and playing, but I'm pretty bad at the latter. 

  

Do you enjoy writing? 

If you ever meet a writer who doesn't enjoy writing, they're not a writer, they're a SPY. Or possibly a celebrity author. 

  

Do you have a BESTEST FRIEND and who is it? 

My wife, Ruth. And, since he's typing this up, my pet octopus, Dandy Bandana. 

  

What is your favourite plant? We have just performed our own experiment where we cut off parts of a plant to see if it survives. 

Monsters, the lot of you! I have a 7-foot tall swiss cheese plant that's on a bit of an angle - I call it Angela Merkle. 

  

Do you like making things? 

These days I mostly make characters and stories, but I am partial to making dinner. 

  

What is your favourite drink? 

Coffee, coffee or coffee, I can't decide. 

  

Do you have a favourite place and where is it? 

The toilet. All my best ideas come to me there. 

  

Do you like going out on holidays? 

Yes, please. Where are we going? 

  

And here is the answer you didn’t ask for: 

When I was chased by a herd of cows. 

  

Right! Enough of Q and A … it's Challenge O'Clock. 

What O'clock? I hear you cry! 

Why, CHALLENGE O'CLOCK, of course! 

  

You’ve already invented your monster, a creepy creation to join Castle Grotteskew's myriad monsters. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it (and even if you don't, to be honest) is to tell me: 

  

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR CREATION MEETS THE CASTLE'S OTHER MONSTERS? 

  

Professor Erasmus has made hundreds of creations over the years. Each one is distinctly different and tends to present a different challenge to our put-upon hero, Stitch Head. 

  

I'd like to know what you think might happen, or what you'd like to happen, when your creation comes face to face (if, indeed, they have a face) with one, two or twenty of the castle's strange inhabitants.  

  

For example, what does your creation think of the other monsters (Are they suddenly angry? Hungry? Scared? Happy to meet a new friend?) 

  

Think about what makes your creation different from the characters they meet, and how can those differences create tension? How to make your creation and the other monsters ‘sound’ distinct from each other – perhaps they have accents or a peculiar way of speaking. And let your imaginations run as wild as a goose! But no wilder.  

  

Good luck and have yourself a DiNGLE DANGLE (this will make more sense when you read more of the book...) 

  

E-speak soon, 

Guy 

Our work for this Challenge O'Clock

Week 3 - Our email to Guy

Dear Guy, 

We are 3A and we want you to know that we are loving your book! 

Sol loves the fact that Stitch Head thinks The Creature is a bit bonkers and wants to hide from him. 

Tommy’s favourite bit is Stitch Head’s flying adventure against the wall as he liked the Thump that Stitch Head made. Zara loves the change in The Creature from rampaging maniac to question master supreme, she can’t believe one creature could ask SO many questions (Mrs Aplin can! 3A ask a lot of questions!) 

Maebh’s favourite part is when the Creature hides behind the statue of Professor Erasmus Erasmus. 

All of 3A have enjoyed the funny poems, especially Tommy Trump who made the disgusting smell! 

Right then, question time: 

Do you like Mario Kart? 

What is your favourite animal and why? 

Do you like Pokemon? 

Why did you decide to write Stitch Head? Why was he so special? 

How long have you been writing for? 

What is your favourite country and why? 

Do you play on any consoles? Tommy has an X Box, but Monty has a Nintendo Switch. 

Did the idea for Stitch Head come to you on the toilet? 

Ossie can’t BELIEVE you don’t know about football! 

Who is your favourite Roald Dahl character (you said he was one of your favourite authors)? 

How long does it take you to write a Stitch Head book, cos they are so good? 

What do you think about axolotls? 

What was the question for your extra answer? We NEED to know why you were chased by a herd of cows!! 

What was your inspiration to become an author?  

We know it is your birthday on the 13th (Teddy’s birthday is the 12th and Uri’s birthday is the 14th so you are right in the middle!) How old will you be? 

When did you start to enjoy reading? Some of us are still finding what makes us zing with books, Stitch Head is helping lots though!  

What was your favourite toy when you were our age (we are 7 and 8)?  

Thanks for writing Stitch Head, he’s brilliant!  

From 3A 

Dear 3A, 

I'm so chuffed you're enjoying Stitch Head so far. And thanks for more questions! These ones smelled especially nice. 

Answers? You betcha:  

Do you like Mario Kart? 

My name is Guy Bass, and I have never played Mario Kart. 

What is your favourite animal and why?  

The otter, because it is THE BEST ANIMAL. 

Do you like Pokemon?  

I played Pokemon Go once. That's about all the Pokemoning I've done. I do think Ash Ketchem is a cool name though. 

Why did you decide to write Stitch Head? Why was he so special?  

Actually, I wasn't sure how he was special at the time I wrote the story. When you have an idea for a book, it's hard to know how much it's going to mean to you before, during or after you write it. I loved the character of Stitch Head from the start but he's become much more special to me because the story has connected with readers. 

How long have you been writing for?  

My first book came out in 2008. Before that I wrote a few plays. I've been writing stories for fun since I was knee-high to Charizard.  

What is your favourite country and why?  

I've visited France and the US most regularly but I have a definite soft spot for Japan. 

Do you play on any consoles? Tommy has an X Box, but Monty has a Nintendo Switch.  

I have, and love, my trusty PS4.  

Did the idea for Stitch Head come to you on the toilet?  

On this rare occasion, the idea came to me on a train. More on than another time... 

Ossie can’t BELIEVE you don’t know about football!  

I can't believe Ossie can't believe it! 

Who is your favourite Roald Dahl character (you said he was one of your favourite authors)? 

That's tough. Grandma from George's Marvellous Medicine, Mrs Trunchbull, Willy Wonka - I tend to prefer Dahl's strange and/or sinister characters, but he also had such a gift for writing humb;e unassuming heroes and heroines.   

  How long does it take you to write a Stitch Head book, cos they are so good?  

Ta! The first one took the longest - probably 6 months or so. I got a bit quicker as the series went on, because I got to know the characters so well. 

What do you think about axolotls?  

I like them a lotl. 

What was the question for your extra answer? We NEED to know why you were chased by a herd of cows!! 

"When was the last time you had to run away?" (I stupidly fired a cap gun near the herd and the poor cows got spooked and went for me. I jumped over a brook to escape, which would have been cooler if I wasn't screaming "AAaaaAH! Cowsaretryingtokillme!") 

What was your inspiration to become an author?   

Stories! 

We know it is your birthday on the 13th (Teddy’s birthday is the 12th and Uri’s birthday is the 14th so you are right in the middle!) How old will you be?  

I turned 47, which makes me more grotty old than your nan. Happy Birthday, Teddy and Uri! 

When did you start to enjoy reading? Some of us are still finding what makes us zing with books, Stitch Head is helping lots though!   

I learned to read at an early age, mainly because my mum got sick of reading to me ... I think finding out what makes you zing is all part of the fun. 

What was your favourite toy when you were our age (we are 7 and 8)?   

Now you're asking. I had a few - Optimus Prime, He-Man, Mego Spider-Man (and later Secret Wars Spider-Man), Chewbacca and Wicket from Star Wars. What's yours? 

On to your work! I really enjoyed all your descriptions - not only did you create some terrifying monsters but you wrote some exciting, funny interactions. 

 

Ziva 

I love the exchange between the characters – you really capture the impatience of the spiky, hedgehog-like beast. 

Slowly hopping back up to the shattered light bulbs Stitch Head said:  “I really must go…” 

“Ok then, go now.” Whispered the creature angrily. 

“Really? You want me to go now?” 

“Yes!” sighed the creature as it rolled its eyes.  

  

 Rudy 

Your passage is the stuff of nightmares and no mistake, Rudy. The idea of a ‘faint scythe’ – something spectral and sinister, is especially creepy. 

It held a faint scythe and it wore a black cloak. All that could be seen was his glowing eyes. 

  

Cherry 

You really ramp up the tension before the monster’s menacing reveal. It’s not easy to get the balance right but you did a great job. 

  “What are you talking about? What is that sound?” 

AAHH! RUN!” replied the creature 

“SHHH, they will come! 

“WHAT?” 

“Creature, don’t move a muscle!” 

  

Drake 

You paint such a clear picture of your monster here in just a few words. Again, this is not easy to do! Well done. 

… a strange dog-shaped human appeared out of the dungeon’s shadows waddling up the metal staircase. It had a black, shiny nose with slime oozing out of its nostrils and stick thin legs. 

  

Alice 

Poor Marshmallow slime brain! I love the creepy combination of creature-features and confectionery in your description. 

… a crazy, old, bizarre monkey-shaped fuzz ball swung its way out of the attic, with a sweet, fruity smell left in the air. It had two curly- whirly funky horns and a shaky body that bounced up in the air to get around. 

  

Tala 

This is a great gag – you set up a chatty style with the “It kind of looked like a cobra but with cat ears” line and then use humour to subvert the reader’s expectations. Very clever! 

It kind of looked like a cobra but with cat ears. It had a long slithery like tail as it slithered towards them. Stitch Head and the creature stepped backwards slowly. Stich Head asked: “Who are you?” 

“I am a cobra with cat ears” replied the creature. 

  

Maeve 

Your monster is very well described but I liked your depiction of the Creature even more. This is definitely something it would say: 

“Well… we are gonna have so much fun together, even though I don’t think I remember what fun is” growled the creature. 

  

Zach 

Same goes for you, Zach! This made me laugh. Such a Creature thing to say: 

“Well, we are going to have a brilliant time together. But I need the loo” 

  

Charlotte H 

Your writing is so evocative. I could picture your monster clearly. It also made me feel a bit ill, so nice one! 

  It then vomited yellow lumpy pus and slid through its own vomit. 

 

By the Power of Grayskull, this is a long email. So, without further ado, it's  

CHALLENGE O'CLOCK! 

For this challenge, I'd like you to think about Stitch Head's new 'friendship' with the Creature, and especially what happens after Stitch Head meets Fulbert Freakfinder. No one has come to the Great Door in decades, so Stitch Head has had the shock of his almost-life when he encounters Freakfinder. It leaves his heart shaking and his mind racing.  

Fortunately, the Creature is here to cheer him up!  

How does the Creature try to make Stitch Head feel better? What does it do to take Stitch Head's mind off his encounter?  

 

Let your imagination run as wild as a turbo-charged axolotl! 

 

Good luck and speak soon, 

Guy 

 

https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/mail-sig/AIorK4w30ISeyRvfYC1GdRvT4bzUCReNKf-O0YeZUIUJd-d_4UH_3lYBcAnl7PLGL_O03eEgHatOQ7A 

guybass.com 

  

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