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Leo and the Gorgon's Curse (Brownstone's Mythical Collection, 4): Joe Todd-Stanton

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For the first half of the Spring term, the year 4 children will be reading the wonderful book Leo and the Gorgon's Curse. They will use this to base all of their written work on and will write their own narrative linked to the book. This week, the Y4 children have been working each day with artist Ruth Mary Johnson. Together, they have explored the Hidden Stories of 1719. Taking inspiration from their visit to Holy Trinity Church in March where the children had the wonderful experience of handling artifacts from the past, they have used drama, creative writing and craft activities to create their own stories. Learning at Home books should be returned on a Thursday and new work will be given out on a Friday.

The whole of key stage two held their Christmas party today! The children had a wonderful time dancing, playing games and eating their party food.It seems that Leo’s actions invoke a reputation that he does not really deserve. All he has is a pin given to him by his parents that states the Brownstone motto. He is not the hero standing on the plinth, a source of pride and respect to the Athenian people! What did he do when he fell into the path of Cetus, the Sea Serpent? Thereafter, how has he overwhelmed other mythical creatures that sought to harm Athens? Can Athena smell a rat? What will she do to reveal the truth?

This morning, the Year 4 children had a fabulous handball session. They were taught lots of different strategies and skills to help them to shoot and defend. After completing some practice activities, they all took part in handball games where they had a wonderful time. Todd-Stanton’s visuals are the most gorgeous of treats once again. Individual panels can have entire narratives embedded in them, while his astute use of colour accentuates both the magical motifs and the more moody, atmospheric sequences. Character and monster design stand out, as does the majesty of Athens and the unknown mysteries of its surrounding environs, but’s the quieter, more human moments that prove the most effective: Leo in his bedroom obsessing over his drawings of the heroes he loves, his interactions with his parents, or his ingenious methods of humanely dealing with the supernatural creatures he encounters. Everyone reads to experience the impossible. Tales of normal people rising to achieve things no one expected. Joe Todd-Stanton has done this. OK, the story, as with all of the Brownstones’ books, it is about defeating the odds, but I mean Joe himself.As with all the books in the series this one is entirely self-contained and needs no foreknowledge to be read and enjoyed on its own terms. If you haven’t introduced the younger readers in your world to the Brownstone family legacy this is an excellent place to start… Continuing our very physical day, in the afternoon, the children all took part in an introductory skipping workshop. The children were introduced to lots of different skipping skills including single and double bounce, side swing and cross over. The children also had the opportunity to jump in and out of the long ropes. The year 4 children had an amazing afternoon taking part in the Sunderland skipping festival. After weeks of practice and perseverance, the children have made amazing progress in their skipping skills and stamina. Children took part in either individual or group skipping competitions. Individual skills included single or double bounce, hop and swap, the cross over and the pretzel. Our team skippers used the long rope to jump in and out of. The children were amazing and many gained a bronze, silver or gold positions. Overall, Grangetown claimed bronze place.We all had a wonderful time!

Football with Arj is on a Wednesday lunchtime. Please bring football kits to school to change into. Thank you so much to all of our wonderful parents and carers for supporting us in our Harvest assembly today. Thank you for your food donations and for joining us in school where the children all sang their Harvest song - Cauliflowers Fluffy - beautifully. We are looking forward to visiting Holy Trinity Church later this month to celebrate the conclusion of our project.

The year 4 children had a wonderful science afternoon investigating how to construct different circuits. They had the opportunity to fins and test how to use a number of different components including bulbs, buzzers and motors. They made a circuit with different numbers of cells and bulbs to see if there were any differences and used their circuits in light boxes that they had made as part of their Design Technology lessons. They used different switches and made their own switches using their understanding of materials that are conducts and materials that are insulators. Like Todd-Stanton’s earlier Brownstone family misadventures Leo and the Gorgon’s Curse fuses sequential art and children’s illustration into one satisfying hybrid whole. As protagonist Leo is fallible but likeable, prone to the mistakes and errors of judgement that prove the catalyst for later events. Themes of tolerance, understanding, heroism, friendship, and standing up to abuses of power follow from there. While ultimately Leo and the Gorgon’s Curse is a feelgood short it achieves its amiability without ever being frothy or superficial in delivery. There’s lots for the younger reader to take away and consider.

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