A boy called Spartacus

Went to Rugby yesterday, for an author visit. Whenever I do a visit, I end with a game for the children where they have to answer ‘true’ or ‘false’ to statements – some of which are about their teachers. If they get it wrong they sit down, and the last one standing wins a copy of ‘The Abominators’.

It’s great fun to find out some little known facts about the teachers in the staffroom before I give a talk. At the school yesterday, my favourite true fact was that ‘Mrs H can fit her entire fist in her mouth.’ Now that is talented.

I asked some Year 6s to think up appropriate middle names for Cecil Trumpington Potts. One pupil offered his own middle name, which was ‘Spartacus’. This made my day. There should be more people with middle names like Spartacus.

After the visit I went to see my cousin and his wife and (as well as real lunch) had a pretend picnic lunch with their younger sons Ewan and Isaac. I was pretending to eating a plastic cup cake when Isaac offered me a plate for it: “In case there are crumblies.”

Got home to find an email with a fantastic review of ‘The Abominators in the Wild’ from Molly, who read an advance copy of the book (out on 2nd May).

What is the story about?

It’s a new term at Grimely East Primary School – The Abominators were separated during the Summer Holidays as an idea to stop them causing mayhem but the 3 boys (Mucker, Cheesy and Boogster) still caused trouble whilst they were away and Bob (the only girl member) stayed at home and didn’t have much fun because she was made to do “girly” things with her Mum – so the Gang are back together and ready to do what they do best (even with a new Year Teacher, Mr Coleman, who is a lot stricter than Miss Jeffries, their previous Year Teacher)! Cecil Trumpington-Potts (we shall call him CT-P, from now on!) has missed his fellow Gang members over the Summer Holidays so he is ecstatically happy to see them all – a feeling that The Abominators don’t seem to share!

So the pupils are told that Year 6 will be going on a Camping Trip which will cost £ 50 – not a problem for CT-P despite his penniless situation at home, he raises the money himself! Despite The Abominators having to tolerate CT-P’s excitement and exclamations, they show their sensitive side towards him being poor and take turns in inviting him round to their respective houses for tea (a diet of baked beans and radishes surely isn’t that good for a growing lad?!) which CT-P enjoys immensely and eats like a horse! We find out that CT-P had a bear (called Boris) when he used to live in Trumpington Manor, not a Teddy Bear but a real, live Brown Bear that is now living in Grimelyshire Safari Park and CT-P goes to visit him.

So the day of the trip is upon us and CT-P turns up at the last minute for the coach – he had to improvise with some of the items they were told to bring with them! – and, as expected CT-P is very excited! He and The Abominators sneak out of camp and go to the Safari Park to meet Boris, who shows them the tricks that he has learnt from CT-P but when they leave, Boris decides he doesn’t want to stay in the Safari Park and digs his way out and follows them to the woods! The following morning, the school kids and the teachers go on a hike in the rain and when they see Boris, they panic and slide down into a ravine that is slowly filling with water and is too steep to climb out of – their only hope of rescue is CT-P and Boris (which CT-P rides like a horse) and he goes back to camp to raise the alarm. CT-P saves the day and returns Boris to the Safari Park where the Keepers are very happy to see him back without them getting into trouble and want to say thank you to him in a special way!

A week later, it is CT-P’s Birthday and the keepers have kept their promise and buy him a bike (a very special bike with 51 gears!) and they have a big party CT-P at Boogster’s house to celebrate!

What lessons do we learn from the Book?

 

CT-P always thinks more of others rather than his own circumstances and the way that he has to live now in a bedsit with his Dad.

It doesn’t matter how big a present is (although it is still welcome!), a present from the heart can mean as much as a material present (for example, the engraved Twig vs the 51 gear Bike!).

Mr Coleman fancies Miss Jeffries! But CT-P keeps getting in the way!

The Abominators are growing used to CT-P and his enthusiasm for all things (still unsure about the Panty-Wanty-Woos, though!) and show him great kindness because of his circumstances by inviting him for tea and throwing a party for him.

Lord Trumpington-Potts used to play the Mandolin and is invited by Boogster’s dad to join their band! But he’s not very good at shining shoes….!

CT-P is an excellent footballer!

Summary

 

(From Dad) – Molly loved this book and the way the characters are working together more, the future is looking very good indeed for The Abominators.

(From Molly) – Rating  10 out of 10! Well done to both Jenny and Sam for both story and illustrations, respectively – do keep up the good work please and we look forward to the next story!

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