For the last few years Simon's been asked to help inspire the children of Orchard Junior School with their Greek Myths project. As a stimulus to kickstart the topic Simon spends a morning with the children drawing traditional Greek monsters and then using habitats suggested by the students to come up with fresh, new beasties. The children then get to work on their monsterous creations which will then become the basis for a creative writing task to write an additional chapter of the Odyssey.
Armed with the drawings many of the children find their writing improves, not only from a descriptive perspective but because it helps focus the mind and challenges them to think through how Odysseus and the monster will meet and interact.
As always the standard of storytelling was very high and was a pleasure to judge. Simon wasn't looking for the best monster, but for the most entertaining story that brings the monster, setting and overall drama to life. This year the best tale was written by Tom Whitehouse who not only injected his story with tension but through using secondary characters to best effect managed to convey a palpable sense of time, place and danger.
The winner is awarded a framed print of their monster illustrated by Simon, and the fun part is nobody in the year group knows who's won until Simon announces it during the prize-giving assembly.
It's an inspirational and worthwhile project to be involved with, and we can cnfirm that Simon's already been booked by Orchard Juniors for 2020.