Odd things happen to Archie every day. Some very odd things. On Monday, a piano rolls down the hill and traps his new friend Cyd in her mum’s car. And then a lorry tips a load of gravel on top of it. At least Cyd finds it exciting. Though of course she doesn’t believe that this sort of thing happens to Archie every day. Until Tuesday, when Archie finds a dead dog in his pocket…
Poor Archie. But as he soon discovers, if odd things have to happen to him, it’s a lot better if they happen when Cyd’s around.
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Could you write a new story with the title ‘I Don’t Believe It’?
- The author dedicated the book to ‘children who live quiet, uneventful lives where nothing much out of the ordinary ever seems to happen’. Can you write a character profile for a child like this? Could you write a story about this child? in which something exciting does happen to them?
- Can you act out the events that take place on Monday? Think about the emotions that each character feels at different points. How will this affect their expression when speaking?
- Find the words that describe how people speak to each other in Chapter One (e.g. said, frowned, interrupted, called). Can you think of some more and make a list of them to use in your own writing?
- The author has used lots of exclamation marks in the first chapter. Can you explain why they are used? Can you make up your own sentences / paragraphs which include exclamation marks?
- Write the letter that mum asks Archie to post on Monday. What could it be about?
- Pretend to be Archie explaining to his mum why he didn’t manage to do each of the jobs that she gave him!
- Throughout Tuesday’s events, the author uses different ways of showing how the characters are feeling (e.g. her look of astonishment changed to one of horror? her lip was quivering? she stared accusingly). Can you find any more examples? Can you make up some of your own?
- On Wednesday, Archie tells Cyd about different things that have happened to him in the past. Could you write a story about each of these and explain how / why they happened?
- Write a letter to the council explaining why they shouldn’t pull down the library and build a car park.
- Have a class debate about plans to knock down a local library and replace it with something else.
- Write a newspaper report about the boy who protested about the closure of the library by glueing himself to the doors!
- Write a diary entry from Archie’s point of view at the end of each day (see Resources below).?How does he feel about the things that have happened to him? Would he prefer that something else had happened instead?
- Can you find the different adverbs using in Chapter 5 (e.g. sternly, reassuringly, cautiously)? Make a list of them all and try to make up your own sentences that include them.
- Write a set of instructions explaining to Archie how to use his mum’s camera.
- Create a ‘Wanted’ poster to help the police catch Big Barry Bolan and Fergus O’Donnell?(see Resources below).
- Write a sequel to this book in which more strange things happen to Archie!
- The piano delivery man delivers the piano to number 91 instead of 16 because the numbers had swung upside down. Can you find any other numbers that can still be read when you swing them upside down?
- Archie’s dad says that strange things happen to him because of ‘the Laws of Chance’. Find out about probability and write the chance of different things happening (e.g. it will be Sunday tomorrow, it will rain next week, a chicken will become the next King).
- On Thursday, Archie discovers a quarter of a million pounds in his bag. Make a list of the things that you could buy with this much money.
- Explore the forces acting on a piano that rolls down a hill. How could people slow the piano down? Investigate the friction that different materials have when you try and slide an object along them.
- The Velcro strip on one of Archie’s trainers gets caught in a dog’s collar on Tuesday. Find out how Velcro works and who invented it.
- Archie’s hands get stuck to some door handles on Wednesday. Find out how glue works and investigate the strength of different types of glue. Think about how to be safe when using glue!
- Design one of the boards that appear outside the enclosures for the lion and leopard at the wildlife park in Dorset. What pictures will it show? What information will it give to visitors about the animals?
- Make a stop-motion animation showing the events that took place on Monday!
- Plan and record the video that Cyd makes, showing the robbery and other events that take place on Saturday.
- Use craft materials to make a new Lion toy for Archie’s sister.
- Could you draw some new illustrations for some of the events in the story? Look at the examples in the book, as well as ones on the illustrator’s website here.
- Draw the expressions of different characters in the story as the events of each day unfold.
- Create a banner that the old lady could use to protest about the closure of her local library.
- On Saturday, there is some confusion over the colour of Archie’s T-shirt. Can you use some paint to mix different shades of red and orange? Which ones are definitely red? Which ones are definitely orange?
- Draw some of the photographs that Archie could have taken with the camera on Saturday (if he hadn’t got distracted!).
- Draw a picture which sums up the main events of each day in the story (see Resources below).
- The man in the brown overalls mentions ‘The Bermuda Triangle’ on Monday. Find out where this is and why it is famous. Could you write your own story about something that happens there?
- Make a timeline showing the events that happen to Archie each day of the week.
- On Tuesday, Archie saves a little dog’s life. Can you find out about first aid and how to help people who are in need?
- The adults don’t ever seem to listen to Archie, even though he knows exactly what is going on. Has this ever happened to you? How could you politely get their attention if it were to happen again?