Wildspark Resources

Wildspark by Vashti Hardy

Visit Vashti Hardy’s web site

Vashti Hardy, author of Brightstorm and Wildspark, gives primary school teachers some brilliant (and fun!) ideas for exploring topics like inventors, technology and storytelling in the classroom

Interesting book review, which raises some excellent discussion questions. 

Below are some ideas about how to explore the book’s themes creatively.

Imagine that you are one of the apprentices. Design your own collage mechanimal.  What is its name? Write a short description, what has it been made to do/ what job. Label your creature to explain why you have chosen their features (e.g. wings/big eyes/long legs)

Extension activity – think of a famous/historical (dead) person. What mechanical body would you put them in? Think about their personality, achievements, skills that they had and how they could be used. E.g. Winston Churchill in a bear, force to be reckoned with, powerful, stoic.

Discussion points

Craftsman Primrose makes it his mission to find talent regardless of birth.  How does this happen in our world? Do you agree with positive discrimination?

Prue’s self-perception was that she didn’t feel good enough compared to her brother, was this an accurate assessment of her character? How did she develop in confidence?

Discuss the setting – it feels timeless. Do you feel this is deliberate?

One of Prue’s fellow apprentices, a girl called Cora, lives and breathes entitlement but another apprentice, Agapantha, is much friendlier. The final apprentice, Edwin, is the first Personifate in the role. At every twist and turn, his right to be there is challenged. Prue suffers the same treatment, although negativity towards her is displayed in a much subtler way. Discuss how constantly hearing that you shouldn’t be somewhere shapes young people’s aspirations and self-belief.

Discuss why Cora behaves the way she does. Very unpleasant, snobbish, sense of superiority. (Our thoughts were – trying to live up to unrealistic expectations, living in sibling’s shadow, family pressure)

At what point is something a machine and when does it become alive? (This could lead to a discussion about AI)

To what extent do our bodies shape our identity?

Spoiler alert – the book has an important moral and ethical dilemma at the end. What do you think about the twist?

Suggested Further Reading

Peter Bunzl Cogheart  

Padraig Kenny Tin

Philip Pullman His Dark Materials

Philip Reeve Mortal Engines Series