Mister Magnolia: Celebrate Quentin Blake’s 90th Birthday

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Mister Magnolia: Celebrate Quentin Blake’s 90th Birthday

Mister Magnolia: Celebrate Quentin Blake’s 90th Birthday

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Notice that as the fun builds, Mister Magnolia’s pets get more and more unlikely. Okay, we believe he has birds ( another feminine attribute in art is to be surrounded by birds), but eventually we find he has a pet dinosaur (not just an unlikelihood, an impossibility). Peak Fun! Mr Magnolia’s trumpet goes ‘rooty-toot’. Can you think of different types of sounds that instruments make? How are these sounds made? Quentin was the inaugural Children's Laureate (1999-2001), an experience he recorded in his book Laureate's Progress. During his time in the role, he celebrated children's books and children's book illustration with a range of projects and exhibitions, and conceived the idea for the House of Illustration, the world's first centre dedicated to the art of illustration in all its forms. An adult character doesn’t require a Cat In The Hat figure to accompany them on their journey into fun because an adult has all the freedom they need to leave the house, live on their own, etc. Mister Magnolia’s ‘allies in fun’ are children. Hierarchy is overturned. Fun ensues.

Draw a picture of a gift that Mr Magnolia might give to the girl as a thank you for his new boot (see Resources below). Mr Magnolia’s owls are learning to hoot. Think about the sounds that different animals make. Why do they make different sounds? A fun picture book will very likely have a carnivalesque story structure, so that’s what I’m using here to analyse the story.Age 3-5 This much-loved classic picture book, introduces us to the world of Mr Magnolia, a character who is full of life and fun despite having only one boot. The rhyme is humorous and surprising, and shows him playfully dancing with his sisters, giving scooter rides to his friends and juggling fruit in the market place. It’s a perfect book for young readers, inspiring a love of rhyme and the joy of reading.

See if you can make up a new story about Mr Magnolia together. Perhaps beginning ‘ Mr Magnolia had only one shoe….’You can play with the rhyme, taking it in turns to invent a new line. Go on a word hunt to see how many words rhyme with ‘boot.’ Read it aloud together and listen for the rhyme. Make a game Mr Magnolia is in the body of an adult but he is a child stand-in. For our purposes he is the child. Blake first depicts him inside the house, and tells us a little about his home. Quite briefly, Mr Magnolia is the story of a lovely man who has a lot going on for him in life- he has a trumpet,two lovely sisters,a pond with frogs,parakeets,some very fat owls,lots of friends,a chute and a dinosaur ,but Mr Magnolia has just one boot all throughout the book.It seems really unfair that such a nice person as him has just one boot and cannot even ho utside outside on a rainy day.When he eventually finds a new second boot at the end of the book you can't help but be genuinely happy for him.

Children have most likely seen a homeless person in the streets before, and this book can help them to realise that even though homeless people have nothing for themselves, they are still human and have feelings even though some precautions should be taken. It would be worthwhile talking to children about being grateful for what we have because we could lose it all one day. Can you plan an investigation to find the best surface for scooting / sliding on? Which one has the most / least friction?

I do wonder if a story like this would be published today. When Quentin Blake was creating Mister Magnolia at the end of the 1970s, there were still plenty of men in primary school teaching. The 1980s saw a rapid and permanent exodus of men from teaching as parents became more aware of sex abuse crimes against children. Suddenly, what had earlier been hidden, precisely because it was unthinkable to non-pedophiles, became a fleshed-out fear in the minds of parents, and book-buyers everywhere. Children can use props such as a hat, scarf or single boot to dress up and act out the story as Mr Magnolia himself. With a cardboard tube or toy instrument as a trumpet they could dance to the rooty toot! It’s a really good way for them to get to know the character well and helps to build their confidence with books and stories. Make a picture Although the magnolia is a well-known flower, it’s not all that common. That describes Blake’s Mister Magnolia character, right? Well-known in the neighbourhood, but beautifully unusual. After hearing the story a few times, children will get to know it quite well. Encourage them tell it to you in their own words, with some words or phrases from the story, using the pictures to help them. Watch the Story Magnificently, the boot does not match his other one. But he is delighted with it, and so are we, because now Mister Magnolia is free to roam no matter the weather. Return to the Home state

Opening Times

Mister Magnolia is shown having lots of fun. He scoots through the park with children clinging onto his leg and so on and so forth. The fun of this book derives from watching Mister Magnolia have fun. He is more fun than a child figure because of the comical juxtaposition: Like a hat wearing a dog, grown-ups don’t normally have this kind of fun. Appearance of an Ally in Fun What forces are taking place when Mr Magnolia rides his scooter or when he slides down into his pool?



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