On Monday I was lucky enough to visit the Owl and Deer classes at the lovely St Oswald’s School in Worleston, Nantwich. I read stories from Desdemona: The Dragon without Any Friends and Pablo, The Storytelling Bear. The children listened to the stories and then asked lots of questions about the stories and about how I set about doing the writing process.
I told the Owls my idea for the next Desdemona story and they talked about some of their ideas. What great imaginations they have!
Some of the Deers were discussing ideas of what we could do to help polar bears survive and showed their caring and scientific side, while others were discussing what Minty or The Enormous Bear might get up to next.
The book is available here.
The book is available here.
If any children from St Oswald’s (or indeed anywhere else) want to write a Desdemona story, a polar bear story, or write ideas about how we can help polar bears survive, do send them to me. I will try to publish some on this site. I’d love to see your drawings too. In the meantime here’s a story to read.
A story from Pablo the Storytelling Bear
Bill is given a small, cuddly polar bear, called Pablo, for his birthday. Little does he know this magical bear can tell stories. Here is one story from the book.
The Enormous Bear’s Recue
‘Why have you been sent to your room, Bill? It’s only 4,o’clock and too early for bed.’
Bill climbed on the bed and threw himself heavily onto the mattress.
‘Don’t you start on me. You’re supposed to be my friend.’
‘I am your friend. Tell me what happened,’ said Pablo.
‘I wanted to play with Emily’s Lego people but she wouldn’t let me. She said she was playing with them and was in the middle of a game, so I shouted at her and told her she was selfish. Mum sent me to my room, so I could think about how I’d behaved, but I really wanted to play with the Lego people.’
‘Sometimes when we want something really badly, we don’t think of the consequences. Let me tell you what happened next to Enormous Bear.’
Bill plumped up the pillow, put it behind his back and settled down to listen to the story.
‘I don’t know how much you know about polar bears, but they feast on seals and fish that they catch, and build up their bodies. When it’s winter the pregnant females dig a den and sleep through the very coldest weather. So they sleep or rest for months and their bodies need the fat that they’ve built up while hunting to survive through the winter months. They stay inside until their cubs can survive outside. The other polar bears carry on hunting, but they adjust how quickly they move through the coldest months or when they have no food.’
‘I couldn’t do that. I eat everyday and I like to snack, but you don’t eat at all, do you?’
Pablo smiled, ‘Toys get their energy from the people they’re with. You get yours from food. The Enormous Bear gets his from food too, but he stores it in his body, because where he lives gets unbelievably cold. It’s not an easy life, but he sees beautiful places. Anyway Enormous Bear made his way to Hudson Bay where many polar bears gather to wait for the ice to form. On the way he got hungry again and when he got to the tundra, he started searching for food. He went down to the beach in the hope that the waves had brought in some food to the shore, but he couldn’t find much. The ice should have formed by then, allowing him to go hunting, but although it was cold, the ice hadn’t formed and so without thinking he carried on walking.’
‘He had to really, because he still needed to look for food,’ said Bill.
‘What you don’t know is that nearby is the town of Churchill and that the people of the town are not too happy to have bears strolling around.’
‘Do polar bears attack people?’ said Bill.
‘Not usually, but one or two have done. The people of Churchill have learned over the years how to live with the polar bears. They adopt a policy of scaring the bears by throwing things at them, making loud noises or firing blanks, which makes the sound of a shot, but doesn’t hurt them. Then the bears run away out of town.’
‘They don’t shoot and kill them, do they?’ asked Bill.
‘Not normally. They really try not to. Anyway Enormous Bear kept on walking towards the town. The Bear Conservation patrol spotted him, just as he was raiding someone’s bin. The Enormous Bear grabbed the bin, tipped it up and was having a good rummage through to see if there was anything to eat. He was concentrating so hard, that he didn’t hear the warnings or see the things thrown at him to scare him away.’
‘Oh no! They didn’t shoot him, did they?’
‘Well they did, but not in the way you’re thinking. The patrol could see he was an enormous bear and they worried he could do a lot of harm, so one of the men loaded his special gun with a tranquillizing dart and fired it at Enormous Bear. He really didn’t know what had happened to him. Then they loaded him onto their van and took him to Polar Bear Jail.’
Bill laughed, ‘There isn’t really a place called Polar Bear Jail is there?’
‘Oh yes. The polar bears are kept there until the helicopter comes and lifts them in the air and carries them away from the town, but leaves them still close enough to get on the ice when it comes. That’s what happened to Enormous Bear. He was so big that they were worried about him travelling in a net underneath the helicopter, but it wasn’t a problem. He had to be tranquillized for the journey, so he wasn’t frightened. Then the conservation patrol removed the net and left him sleeping, not far from the sea.’
‘Wow, whoever thought of that is amazing. They kept the people in the town safe, but they didn’t kill the bear. I’m glad he’s still alive.’
‘So is he, but he doesn’t really understand what happened.’
‘Did he get any food?’
‘He didn’t have to wait that long. The ice began to form and he was able to go hunting, so he’ll survive another year, but each year the ice comes later and one day there won’t be enough time for the bears to build up enough fat to survive the winter.’
‘That’s terrible. Can’t we do something?’ said Bill.
‘All I know is there are people who are trying to help polar bears survive. I expect you’ll learn all about that at school one day.’
‘Thank you for the story Pablo. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I feel better now.’
‘That’s good. In a way you’re just like the Enormous Bear. He did something he shouldn’t. He went too near humans and was put in Polar Bear Jail, which is a bit like you being sent to your bedroom. Then he was put back somewhere safe, so things were back where they needed to be. So how are you going to get to that position?’
‘You’re telling me I must go and say sorry.’
‘Indeed I’m not,’ said Pablo. ‘If you’re not sorry, don’t say it, but I wonder how Emily is feeling after you shouted at her.’
Bill looked sad for a moment and then he climbed down the ladder from his bed.
‘Thanks Pablo,’ he said as he went downstairs.