25 Mar 2012

Ideas for kids - Themes - Mutants

Jack Trelawny's Story House - Ideas for kids - Themes - Mutants

A Snowtapaws drawn by Ryan Charles of Westfield Primary School

A 'theme' is a big or main idea in a story that 'recurs', which means it keeps appearing again and again. One of the themes in the Kernowland in Erthwurld stories is 'mutationeering' - the science of making mutants. The scientists who make mutants in Erthwurld have been doing it for a thousand years. This allows my imagination to run wild as I try to think up the creatures the mutationeers might make by mixing up all the animals, plants, birds, fish, and insects from the real world. This gives me lots of creature and monster characters for my imaginary world. Sometimes I even add in mythical creatures to the mix, like dragons, so that I can get even more strange characters for the story.
This is Monstro, the Brazilian Brainboiler, a 'guard tree' mutant
who has twelve eyes to see in all directions, long branch arms to grab intruders with,
and a steaming cauldron for a belly with which he boils the brains of his victims.
This is Danglefang, the WolfSpider, a specialist mutant bred for hunting and catching runaway slave children.
He has eight eyes and eight legs, like a spider, and the nose and jaws of a wolf. 
He can run fast, climb walls, and spin a web to ensnare his victims in a sticky cocoon.
If Danglefang is after you, there is little chance of escape.
This is Octogon, the Octoplus, a giant mutant octopus
which attacks The Revenger when Tizzie is aboard. 
Octogon has eighty-eight legs and a giant beak for devouring his victims.
This is the Ratphael the Dungeon Master and his pack of rattweilers. Ratphael is part human, part rat.
He has infra-red eyes and a rat nose which help him find escaped children in the darkness of the tunnels.
His rattweilers also have infra-red eyes and a very keen sense of smell for sniffing out hiding children. 

When I go to school, I show children lots of pictures of imaginary creatures that could be made by mixing things up...

like a lepeagle...
...or a turtlekitten.
The children often make up their own mutants for their story writing after the visit to school.

Some of the children from Westfield Primary School sent me their mutant pictures. Their teacher helped them to make proper slides of the pictures with descriptions. You've already seen Ryan's 'snowtapaws' ...
How about these mutants to give you some ideas of your own (click on the images to make them bigger)...

To help you make your mutant character, it's often useful to first ask some important questions...

Which real animals, birds, fish, insects, or plants are going to be part of the mutant?
Which pretend creatures or monsters are going to be part of the mutant?
Will the mutant be nice and friendly and helpful?
Or will it be nasty and ferocious and deadly?
Where would the mutant live? A jungle? A desert? A cold place? A hot place?
Would the mutant crawl, walk, swim, or fly?
What would the mutant eat? Is it a hunter?
What would eat the mutant?

You could answer some of the questions by finding out as much as you can about real animals, birds, fish, insects, and plants. And you could find out about mutant creatures and monsters from stories to give you even more ideas. Don't forget to look at lots of pictures. If you get stuck trying to find the information and pictures, ask your teacher or another adult to help.

Good luck with searching for all your ideas for mutant characters.


See you next time in the Story House.

Happy writing... and reading!