Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Gangsta Granny

Gangsta Granny

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by David Walliams

Our hero Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma.

1) She was once an international jewel thief.

2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help…

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Make up some new book titles which include alliteration, e.g. The Perilous Postman, Annoying Aunties, Groovy Grandad. Could you write a story based on one of these book titles?
  • Think of different words to describe the look and taste of cabbage.
  • Write a biography for Flavio Flavioli, the dancer from Italy who performs on Strictly Stars Dancing.
  • Granny’s door makes a ‘Clunk’ sound as it is closed. Can you think of other words that describe a sound (e.g. oink, bang, swish)?
  • Granny loves food made with cabbages. Can you design a menu with lots of cabbage-related foods (e.g. cabbage soup, cabbage cake)?
  • Choose a person that you know (or a made-up character) and think of different secrets that they might have. Can you write a story about this?
  • Ben and Granny play Scrabble together. Ask a friend to give you a random selection of letters and see how many words you can make using them.
  • The author gives a step-by-step guide for pretending to brush your teeth. Can you write a set of instructions which show people how to brush their teeth properly?
  • Can you tell one of the stories that Ben’s granny might have read to him when he was younger?
  • Write about one of the adventures that granny might have had when she was the most wanted jewel thief in the world.
  • Imagine that you are Mr Parker. Create a set of Neighbourhood Watch rules to help others in the community stay safe from crime.
  • Look at granny’s recipe for cabbage cake. Can you create a recipe for something that tastes much nicer?
  • Design a page for the Argos catalogue, which shows the Crown Jewels for sale, similar to the one in Chapter 26.
  • Make a list of questions to ask the Queen if you had the chance. Could you role-play an interview with the Queen?
  • Listen to the audiobook version of the story. Could you record your own reading of the book?
  • Watch this video in which the author answers questions and reads part of the book. Think of some questions that you would like to ask:

  • Watch this video in which the author shares his writing tips. Can you use some of these tips in your own writing?


  • In Chapter 5 there is a timetable for ‘granny’s hectic life’. Could you create a new, more exciting timetable with lots of different activities at various times each day? Could you make up some questions for others to answer about your timetable (e.g. How long does a particular activity last?)?
  • The author challenges the reader to do nothing but count for sixty seconds. Estimate how long sixty seconds is… use a clock / stopwatch to check your estimate.
  • Venn diagrams are used in the story. Can you make up your own Venn diagrams and explain what they show?
  • Look at the graph of told-offness in Chapter 27. Could you make your own graph about a similar topic?


  • Raj tries to sell some Cornettos with a Best Before date of 15th November 1996. Find out what might happen to food after their best-before dates. How do we keep different types of food fresh for as long as possible?
  • Find out what might happen to your teeth if you only pretended to brush them as Ben does in the story.


  • Write a set of instructions which show the Queen and granny how to ‘Google’.


  • Look at the labelled diagram of granny. Could you create a similar diagram for another character in the book, or from another story?
  • Design the cover for one of granny’s gangster books or for a copy of Plumbing Weekly magazine.
  • Design an advert for one of Raj’s special offers.
  • Draw a picture which shows what granny’s box of diamonds and jewellery looks like.
  • Design a new costume for Ben’s dance championship.
  • Make a scale model of the Tower of London, like Ben does at school.
  • Can you plan and make an animated trailer for the book, using this one for ideas?


  • Ben’s parents listen to the same Strictly Stars Dancing CD over and over again. Could you create your own playlist of music that Ben might enjoy, or compose a song that the whole family might like?


  • Granny has stolen items from India and St. Petersburg. Can you find these places on a map?
  • Look at a map of London. Can you find the River Thames, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and any other famous locations?
  • Draw a map of the Tower of London and use it to show how Ben and his granny might have broken in to the Jewel House.


  • In Chapter 24, there is a list of famous prisoners who were kept at the Tower of London. Can you find out about them and their crimes?
  • Find out about the crowns kept in the Tower of London.

Physical education

  • Plan and perform a dance that might be shown on the show Strictly Stars Dancing.
  • Find out about different types of dances, e.g. tango, ballroom, and rumba. What makes them different?


  • Ben has a list of 10 things that he hated about his granny. Can you write a list of 10 things that you love about a family member?
  • Ben wants to be a plumber when he is older. What jobs might you like to do when you are an adult? What skills does each job require?
  • How might granny be feeling when she hears Ben tell his parents that he doesn’t want to stay with her? Think of different words to describe her emotions. Draw a picture of how granny’s face might look at that time.
  • Ben realises that spending time with granny was the best part of his week. What is the best part of your week?

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