All day today there has been a strange noise coming from the drain outside our house. A rumbling, echoing sound which shouldn't be coming from a drain...
'Bet you can't think of a book about something living in a drain,' my husband challenged. No problem- one of my all time favourites has just that!
Krindlekrax is an amazing book and one which I love to use in school. With its excellent PSHE themes, the way it challenges the reader to reconsider how they view people and its wonderful characters, this is an absolute winner as both children and teachers love it!
Ruskin Splinter is small and thin- nobody's idea of a hero- but he believes in himself. Despite lack of support from his parents, his teachers and his (ex-)friends, he desperately wants to be the hero in the school play and defeat the dragon.
Philip Ridley uses repetition and sounds to create a story that comes alive as you read it. Children can't help but join in with the noises of Lizard Street- Da-boing! Eeeek! Ka-clunk!- and the people who live there- Tishoo! Oh-polly-wolly-doodle-all-the-day! It's not my fault!
As well as an excellent read aloud, this book offers so many opportunities for inspiring work in English and other subjects. For example, the development of character is wonderful and I often ask children to create a sister for Ruskin, using Philip Ridley's style. This leads to so much discussion! Lizard Street is also a great example of how to build a setting and Ridley's descriptions of the sewers make a wonderful model to work from.
Other writing opportunities might include research, non-chronological reports, recounts (in various forms!), persuasion, discussion, instructions and explanations as well as narrative and poetry. Drama, role play, hot seating, freeze-framing can all come from the book. Children can film each other re-creating additional scenes and then use this as a basis for developing writing action alongside dialogue by watching the actions they add when speaking.
Comparisons can also be made between the original 1991 version and the 2001 edition as there are differences which children really enjoy identifying and discussing!
Krindlekrax can also be used to inspire art work. It is full of PSHE opportunities and philosophical questions. It's perfect as a starting point for creating maps of the local environment.
Such an excellent book should have its place in all schools. Now we just have to work out what's in our drain!