Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Frightful Night discussion guide


Author Kristina Stephenson

Illustrator: Kristina Stephenson

Publisher: Egmont


This is the second book about Sir Charlie Stinky Socks by Kristina Stephenson, featuring the young knight and his companions, the cat Envelope and his good grey mare. This time the little princess at the top of the tall, tall tower awakes from her sleep to find that her teddy has been stolen. It’s up to Sir Charlie to help the damsel in distress. On his quest he encounters some ghastly ghouls, a headless ghost and a cellar dweller before he returns teddy to its rightful owner.

Reason for selection:

The auditory and interactive qualities of this text make it perfect for reading aloud and for exploring the effects of language. The story is full of suspense and anticipation and the bold, bright illustrations will appeal widely to both boys and girls.

Discussion Points:

Before reading

  • Discuss with the children any stories they know that feature knights (ask if anyone has read 'Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Awfully Big Adventure').
  • What do knights do in stories?List the children’s suggestions on the whiteboard.
  • Introduce the term ‘quest’ to describe a knight’s adventures. Explain that a quest is a journey or expedition undertaken by the knight in order to perform a task.
  • Show the front cover of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Frightful Night. Ask the children if they can work out what this knight’s task might be. Are there any clues on the front cover?
  • Now look at the back cover. Are there any further clues here? Read the blurb.

During reading;

  • First encounters - interactive reading: Have available a collection of percussion instruments. Explain to the children that you would like them to help with the reading of the story, which has lots of sound effects.
  • What sounds could be made for each of the following:
    • Sir Charlie on his horse trip, trapping
    • Sweetle beetles – niggle and shove
    • Ghastly ghouls - dribble and drool
    • Headless ghost - scary clanking and wailing
  • You can either divide the class into four groups to add the sound effects or have the whole class make all of the sounds at the appropriate moment in the story.
  • Read the story aloud, expressively and emphasising dramatic tension. Encourage participation.
After reading
Invite the children to share their first responses to the story.
  • What did they most enjoy?
  • Were there any surprises?
Retelling the story
  • This quest story follows a problem resolution structure typical in traditional stories. The pattern of three occurs regularly in the traditional tale and in this story Charlie has to overcome three obstacles before he can return the teddy bear to the little princess.The story hands activity can be used to analyse the structure and to aid the children’s retelling of the story. Explain to the children, that ‘storytelling hands’can be used to help remember a story. Draw around your hand and explain that you are going to use your hand as one way to help you remember the story of 'Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Frightful Night':
  • In pairs, invite children to talk about the beginning of the story and draw a picture to represent this on their individual whiteboards or a piece of paper.
  • Share ideas and agree on one image to represent the opening of the story.
  • Draw this picture on the thumb of the outline of your hand.
  • Now identify the three events in the middle of the story: 
    • Meeting the ghastly ghouls 
    • Meeting the headless knight
    • Meeting the cave dweller
  • Create a simple picture for each of these events and add them to the index, middle and ring fingers of your hand outline.
  • In pairs, ask children to draw a picture to represent the end of the story. Finally, draw this on the little finger.
  • Explain how the story hand helps you to remember the story. You can use each finger to help  narrate that part of the story. Either in pairs or small groups retell the story of 'Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Frightful Night,' using the hand as a scaffold for the storytelling.
  • Review the terms ‘beginning, middle and end’of the story and explain each one:
    • Beginning: the characters and the problem are introduced
    • Middle: actions and events undertaken by the hero
    • End: the problem is solved.
Story settings and soundscape
  • Review with the class what the term ‘setting’.
  • What is the setting for this story? Prompt them to give as much details about the features of the setting as possible and list on the IWB or a flipchart.
    • The story is set in a tall tower with a point roof
    • •the tower has a creepy corridor •
    • there are some rickety, rockety stairs
    • •there’s a room behind full of bubbling bean soup in a caul-dron •
    • There’s a trap door, which leads to a cellar
  • First demonstrate how to make a soundscape. Using the tower with the creepy corridor as an example, ask every child to think of a creepy sound; they can use voices and body parts to make sounds. Listen to each sound in turn. If there are too many similar sounds, ask the children to make a different sound so that there are a variety of sounds. Now conduct the children in the ‘creepy corridor soundscape’.
  • To do this, agree a number of actions. For example, 
    • Pointing to a child when you want them to make a sound. 
    • Cutting the air when you want them to stop 
    • Lifting hands in the air when you want the sound to be louder 
    • Lowering the hands when you want the sound to be softer.
  • After performing the ‘creepy corridor’ soundscape, divide the class into groups and ask different groups to create soundscapes for different parts of the story. When you have done this, share the soundscapes and evaluate.
    • What worked well?
    • Is there anything that could be improved?
  • Read the story of 'Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Frightful Night'  with accompanying soundscapes.
Creating a new story
  • Working in pairs, ask children to draw around a hand. Using the story hand technique invite them to create a new idea for a Sir Charlie Stinky Socks story.
  • Working in fours, each pair can tell their new ‘Sir Charlie Stink Socks’story.
From storytelling to story writing
  • Using one of the storytelling hands created by the children, model how words can be added to each of the different stages of the story.
  • Stick the hand to a large piece of paper or can and display on the interactive white board.
  • Annotate each finger with key words suggested by the children.
  • Shared writing: use demonstration and modelling to show how these words and images can support writing a para- graph for the story.
  • Children can work in pairs or independently to write their stories supported by the storytelling hands. 

Wider Reading

See our Knights and Castles packs for further reading suggestions.

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