Discussing dialogue in Year 5 book club

Today in Year 5 Book Club, we looked at dialogue and how Roddy Doyle writes it, as we are reading A Greyhound of a Girl by the Irish author.

image courtesy of scholastic.co.uk

We thought about how Roddy Doyle writes dialogue in his book, and read interesting comments by him about how he writes:

‘I see people in terms of dialogue and I believe that people are their talk… It struck me that the way to make [characters] seem real was not to describe their physical appearances but to get them talking. Writing is words. My characters would be words too.’

This is very helpful advice when writing our own stories and dialogue. We thought about the different characters in A Greyhound of a Girl and how Doyle differentiates between them. For example, Scarlett, Mary’s mother, always talks in exclamation marks, as Mary notes. All her sentences end with them because she is trying to be positive at a sad time because grandma Emer is dying in hospital. One of our group, Ayako, made a very good observation that Scarlett doesn’t speak with exclamation marks when she visits her ill mother in hospital. We said that this was a clever way for Roddy Doyle to show how upset Scarlett is without having to spell it out for us.

Conversation then moved on to how illustrators distinguish between characters. Matt Groening, of The Simpsons, once said that he decided to make his characters yellow because, when people channel-hop between TV stations, they will spot the Simpsons a mile off. Each of them also has a unique head shape, making them easy to identify. If we can do the same with words, then we can create memorable characters.

We ended the session, bizarrely, with riddles! We had a go at answering riddles the group had learned in class and also looked at The Riddle That Killed Homer (the poet, not the yellow comic character!). It stumped us too but luckily we had the answer in the book! Can you answer this?

The Riddle That Killed Homer

All that we caught we threw away,

All that we didn’t catch we kept.


Making Doughbots with Years 3 and 4

On Wednesday lunchtimes, years 3 and 4 have been meeting to talk about the book group’s current title: Monster and Chips Night of the Living Bread.

Everyone is enjoying the mad antics of the monsters in their diner, though some of us are squeamish at the sound of the daily specials. They really are revolting!

One of the first big things to happen in the book is when ‘hooman’ Joe makes a Doughbot with the monsters, in an attempt to create a robot to help them. It is rather like a mixture of Mary Shelley’s Monster in Frankenstein and the massive cookie monster in Shrek 2 and unfortunately it turns out to have very evil intentions. We thought it would be fun to create our own Doughbots and this is what happened!

Sophie tries hard not to eat her Doughbot!

Sophie tries hard not to eat her Doughbot!

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Doughbots find it hard to sit properly on chairs.

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Carmen’s Doughbot is friendly, not fiendish.

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What a hairdo on Bree’s!

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Christopher and his Doughbot smile for the camera. 🙂

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If you look carefully, Sarah’s Doughbot has a speech bubble coming out on his long right arm.

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Saqib and Liana’s Doughbot sticks his tongue out for the camera. Naughty bot!

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Bella and Lilly have gone mad with lollipop hair extensions.

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Hiba’s Doughbot is wearing too much lipstick.

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Not quite a Baker’s Dozen but close enough!

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Final photocall for the Doughbots.


How to do this at home

It’s really easy to make your own Doughbot. The hardest part is the vacuuming afterwards!

1. Purchase any rolls – hotdog shapes are great for bodies and limbs, while hamburger rolls work well for heads (or round bodies!).

2. We tried to let the bread go stale for as long as possible so it doesn’t break up too easily when working with it.

3. Cheap lollipop sticks from Poundland or similar work well for legs, arms, hair, teeth, eyes, tongues…. (you get the picture!)

4. Googly eyes from Poundland or similar are fantastic fun to add.

5. Coloured pens make it easy to decorate the rolls however you wish.

WARNING: You will find it difficult to stop the children from eating them! Even when they have just had lunch!

If you make your own Doughbot please share it with us!


Review of Opal Plumstead, by Esme Hennessy

image courtesy of guardian.com

Book:                   Opal Plumstead

Author:                Jacqueline Wilson

Reviewer:            Esme Hennessy (Year 6)

Star rating:          ***** (5 stars!!)

I really liked this book because it was a mix of tragedy and happiness.

Whenever I read it, I had anticipation inside me and I didn’t like it when I had to stop reading.

It might have an ordinary start but the book soon gets very exciting. To those of you who don’t know what it’s about here is the plot in brief:

It’s about a plain girl called Opal Plumstead with a boring life, but it soon all changes when her beloved father goes to prison for forging a cheque at work. Opal is forced to give up her school scholarship and go to work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory. She makes friends with the factory owner, Mrs Roberts, and from there, it just gets better and better.

I really recommend that you read the book.

Notes:             Opal Plumstead is written by Jacqueline Wilson, and it’s her 100th book.



Welcome to the new website for the Library at St Michael’s CE Primary School, Oxford!

happy reading group

On this site we will be sharing our love of reading through news, book reviews and plenty more. So do keep checking back to see what we have in store.

Happy reading!

Mrs Sam Pope, School Librarian