2 years ago

Spring Edition 2019

  • Text
  • Headmistress
  • Headmaster
  • Regis
  • Brancaster
  • Attenborough
  • College
  • Schools
  • Gyngell
  • Savage
  • Bank
  • Village
  • Boning
  • Miller
  • Minchin
  • Cowell
  • Fogle
  • Grylls
Bear Grylls, Ben Fogle, Louise Minchin & Cressida Cowell all contribute to this packed edition on the wonders of the great outdoors! Win a family holiday to Forte Village, Sardinia and join our Holland & Holland school clay tournament. It's our best issue yet!!

Dreaming of DRAGONS

Dreaming of DRAGONS Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series has sold over 7 million copies worldwide and inspired a generation of young readers. Alumna of Marlborough, she talks to Amanda Morison about the importance of letting children be creative in the classroom and going wild in the great outdoors Cressida Cowell read English at Oxford (Keble College) and went on to Saint Martin’s School of Art and Brighton University to study art. Asked which is more important to her work, the words or the illustration she admits, “I can’t imagine one without the other. I draw maps to make the setting feel like a real place, and write and sketch the characters to get a sense of what they’re like”. This brings to mind other author / illustrators, not least J.R. Tolkien who Cowell believes was inspired by his time on archaeological digs. “It was riddled with holes which may well have given him ideas for the Hobbit. It’s very interesting how the British landscape inspires”. Cowell’s passion for igniting the imagination is inextricably linked with this belief in the importance of nature. Her well-documented childhood was spent in London (where aged five she’d cross London by bus with her sister to go to school – “Imagine doing that now!”) and a deserted Scottish Above: Setting off on an island adventure in the 1970s. Cressida pictured as a child on her family’s Hebridean island. Right: Inspiring young imaginations of Vale Primary School pupils in Little Hurst Wood, Surrey through her passion for nature, The Wizards of Once heroes Xar and Wish. island. In true Swallows & Amazons-style, Cowell and her siblings roamed and sailed free all day. She feels that humans are hard-wired to explore, and without it there would be no creativity. “I worry about children’s access to nature. Nature writer Robert Macfarlane describes how the Oxford English Dictionary has stopped printing words like bluebell and acorn and replaced them with broadband and blog. If you lose these words it’s symbolic with losing touch with the countryside”. While children might dream of visiting Burke, How to Train Your Dragon’s fictional island, Cowell admits that social services would arrest you if you tried to recreate the circumstances of her own childhood, “Sailing alone without life jackets probably isn’t a good idea. But you can take children to uninhabited places, camping or just somewhere with no internet. Let them climb trees!”. This passion for nature has led Cowell to work with the Woodland Trust as an Honorary Nature

PROFILE “When I visit Primary Schools you get lovely conversations about whether trees talk to each other, and if making their roots grow towards water means they have brains” Detective inspiring children to love and respect Britain’s wildlife. “When I visit Primary Schools you get lovely conversations about whether trees talk to each other, and if making their roots grow towards water means they have brains”. Another significant influence on Cowell’s writing are her own experiences at school. An avid reader and excited by learning – “I even loved subjects I wasn’t very good at” – she was constantly in trouble for being messy and disorganised. “Xar, my boy wizard hero in The Wizards of Once series, acts first, thinks later, then gets demotivated and becomes confrontational. Wish, my girl hero, is dyslexic - my sister is dyslexic too. I identify with children who aren’t part of ›› SPRI NG 19 ★ 31