The Phoenix Presents

Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Women

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History is full of incredible stories about amazing people, many of whom have been women. However, many of these incredible life stories have been forgotten, along with the heroic deeds that were ground breaking in their day. The best way to unearth these histories is to speak to the individuals themselves, but this seems impossible as these people died hundreds of years ago. Corpse talk is the comic book chat show that brings the dead interesting and dead famous to life, quite literally. In order to get the real scoop on the lives of the most brilliant individuals in history, host Adam Murphy picks up his shovel and digs up the remains of these individuals and conducts fascinating and hilarious interviews. ‘Corpse Talk: Ground Breaking Women’ is the female edition to the comic book series. It’s a truly horrible take on history, with a female twist.

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This book features queens and con-artists, saints and suffragettes, philosophers and pirates, a historical timeline from Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh who traded her way into the Egyptian record books through to Josephine Baker, entertainer, sophisticated high society lady and spy for the French Resistance. There are interviews with Empress Irene, the first women to rule the Roman Empire, Khutulun, the Mongolian warrior princess, Pocahontas, the native American who encouraged peace between her people and English settlers and Harriet Tubman, guide through the underground railroad. If that’s not enough ‘girl power’, there are also interviews with Granny Nanny, the plantation slavery resistance fighter, Joan of Arc, the valiant visionary who helped the French armies defeat the invading English and Emily Wilding Davison, the English suffragette who died for her cause.

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Adam Murphy’s interviews with each brilliant woman from history uncover highlights from incredible life stories, showcasing great accomplishments and bring to light little known personal historical facts. If the life stories aren’t enough, Corpse Talk also explains a whole host of details surrounding the lives of these famous women. Hatshepsut reveals the plans for her temple and Josephine Baker explains how to dance the Charleston; Empress Irene explains how Byzantine Silk was created; Khutulan showcases her best Bokh Wresting Moves and Harriet Tubman walks you through the underground railroad. This is a book jam-packed with incredible historical facts and even more amazing life stories.

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This is fourth book in the ‘Corpse Talk’ series, which unearths dead amazing details from historically famous people throughout history. Some of the interviews from this book have been previously featured in the weekly story comic, ‘The Phoenix’ but his book brings them all together and adds so much more. Due to the humorous nature and engaging comic book style, this book is hard to put down. Perfect for reluctant readers, history buffs and lovers of stories that empower attitudes of independence, confidence, and brilliance among young women- and men!

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This is a great text for any KS2 library shelf. It’s perfect as a research resource and as a starting point for further investigation. Take a more detailed look into some of these incredible lives, the geography and history surrounding them. Readers could find their own incredible characters to make their own ‘Ground-Breaking’ history book, writing their own reports or interviews. They could also write narratives imagining what it would be like to step into the shoes of their favourite characters.

The Phoenix Presents…Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Women

Adam and Lisa Murphy

David Fickling Books ISBN: 978-1910989609

Cartoon Chaos inspired by Neil Cameron

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Knowing how much my class (and other children in school!) love the Phoenix books, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of 'Mega Robo Rumble' by Neill Cameron. This led to a cunning plan for my Book Group last Friday!

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I found a clip of Neill talking about drawing Alex (one of the Robo Bros) which we watched before looking at some of Neill's books, particularly 'Mega Robo Rumble'. They were so excited and were thrilled when I explained that they were going to create their own hero cartoon characters. 

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We had all manner of fabulous creations. The children also enjoyed looking at 'How to Make Awesome Comics' (also by Neill) to get ideas. 

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We will be finishing these on Friday and sharing them with the rest of the school. I loved the way that all the children were completely engaged and buzzing with ideas. No one said they couldn't do this or that they didn't have any ideas- they were overflowing with enthusiasm!

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Look out, Phoenix Comics- some of your future contributors could be amongst this lot!

Lost Tales

'Lost Tales' is a wonderful collection of lesser known stories from around the world, re-told in comic form.

The lovely cover shows images from the different tales bursting from a book and cutting paths of colour across the bright white background. Tempting? Absolutely!

There are eight tales included in the book and a map with figures from each story locating its country of origin appears at the beginning . By this map, there is a pile of books which I assume are the sources Adam Murphy explored when choosing his selection.

Each tale is perfectly told in a patchwork of pictures! Adam Murphy's fabulous illustrations and choice of colours vivdly bring each one to life, taking us from the Punjab to Brazil to Japan, each with its own flavour and style.

Any of these tales could be used with a class to inspire work, to be read and enjoyed together, to encourage those less keen to read and to motivate children to portray other stories, myths and legends in this way.

I really hope this is the first in a new Phoenix series which will present more of these wonderful stories from around the world with the care, humour and style Adam Murphy does in this volume.

The Phoenix Presents...Lost Tales by Adam Murphy

David Fickling Books     ISBN: 978-1910989197