What does the dragon look like? No one can say for certain,
As it’s hidden from sight behind a sky-high steel curtain.
Some say it’s pea-green. Female. Oval eyes ringed in black.
Others say it’s gold. Male. With rigid spines along its back.
The dragon has not been seen for over 400 years. Nothing but a brief glimpse of Our Kid’s silhouette against the night sky or a flash of a tail...So we need your help!
Allow your imagination to conjure up Our Kid... Sketch, draw or paint your version of the dragon and either add your masterpiece to the online Art Gallery, email email@example.com or send it via Facebook. Your dragon may end up playing a starring role in Part Two!
Get Writing and Rhyming!
Most kids can’t keep secrets. They can see through lies too.
Life’s about to change for our dragon … but that’s for Part Two!
From what you have read in Part One, can you predict what happens next? How do you think life changes for the dragon?
Does Our Kid become the town hero by coming to the rescue on a rainy bonfire night, melting snow on a roadblock or relighting the school boiler on a freezing winter’s day? Or is Our Kid hell-bent on getting revenge on the town for all the years held captive without Elizabeth Demdike’s love and protection? Does Demdike reverse-swish her wand and return in the twenty-first century, or is she gone for good?
What part do the school children play in Part Two? Do they help to free Our Kid? Do they help tame it, or do they become dragon dessert? Or do they conjure up some magic of their own?
Four curious kids, out one day on a fact-finding mission,
Discovered a clue that only confirmed their suspicions.
What clues could the children possibly find that would help confirm their suspicions? Go on a hunt in your garden and see what clues you can find to prove that a mini beast is living there!
Magic is at the heart of many authors' work, either as a dark force or as a power for good. However, we all can find a different kind of magic every day if we only choose to see it -as the closing lines from Roald Dahl's The Minpins remind us,
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
'The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."
Design Wizard Nathaniel Hebert, the designer of The Best-Kept Secret, chose to place a decorative letter at the start of every new verse.
Four hundred years ago, when King James I of England was on the throne, scribes and artists used decorative illuminated letters to adorn medieval manuscripts.
An illuminated letter was usually the first letter of a paragraph. It was always enlarged and in colour with gold leaf applied in areas, while the rest of the text remained black. The images used to enhance the letters include animals, plants, and mythological creatures. These images were modified to fit into or around the letter or, in some cases, took on the shape of the letter itself.
Can you design a decorative letter using one of your initials? (Real gold is not necessary!). Then, either add your decorative letter to the online Art Gallery, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it via Facebook. Your design may end up playing a starring role in Part Two!
There may be a few words in The Best-Kept Secret which are unfamiliar. A good resource for you to check out is https://www.wordhippo.com, but to save you one job...
To filter fact from fiction, to unravel the unknown,
Let’s go back to the time King James the First was on the throne.
With a horse, a feather hat, a moustache and a goatee,
He could have been mistaken for the knight Don Quixote.
Don Quijote de la Mancha is a novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The book, published in two parts (1605 and 1615), was first written in Spanish and later translated to English by Thomas Shelton.
The story is about Alonso Quixano, a bearded, rich middle-aged man. After reading many tales about chivalry and knights, Quixano believes he is a knight named Don Quixote. He rides around the country with his squire, Sancho, having many adventures. He thinks his adventures are real, but everyone else is not convinced...
One of the most famous stories in the book is Don Quixote’s fight with the windmills. Thinking they are giants, he rides to fight them, only to be knocked off his horse. Sancho tells him they are only windmills, but Don Quixote does not believe him. Instead, he is convinced a magician cast a spell, changing the windmills into giants to hurt him.
At the end of the book, Alonso Quixano returns home badly hurt. Then, finally, he sees sense.... then (spoiler alert) promptly dies.
Everyone argues about the correct pronunciation of Don Quixote de la Mancha. We have used this Spanish pronunciation as the author, Miguel de Cervantes, was Spanish... and the English version doesn’t rhyme with goatee!