Page 130. " 'The reason there's no use looking,' said Mr Beaver, 'is that we know already where he's gone!' "


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Public DomainThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the most famous of the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, which are a set of stories set in a fictional land watched over by a lion called Aslan. The second in the series, the story of the book revolves around four siblings who escape from wartime London to an old country house, and find a gateway to Narnia at the back of a wardrobe. Once there, they are called upon to save the land from the White Witch, who has cast a spell so that it is always winter, but never Christmas- a terrible prospect!

The film version of the book, brought out in 2005, inspired several artists to write songs for it. These have since been made into an album, which is great listening if you want to relive this childhood classic.

Page 131. " Capricorn was a tall man, and gaunt, as if the skin had been stretched too tight over his bones "


Andy Serkis 2003
GNU Free Documentation LicenseAndy Serkis 2003 - Credit: Stefan Servos

Inkheart was made into a movie in 2009, which starred many famous actors including Brendan Fraser, Helen Mirren and Paul Bettany. In the movie, Capricorn is played by Andy Serkis (left), who looks rather different to the above description- Serkis is most famous for playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings, but in reality he's a lot healthier looking than his on-screen counterpart. Perhaps the director didn't realise before he cast him?


You can watch the Inkheart trailer and decide what you think of his performance (and the movie in general) on the website.

Page 138. " A tune kept going through his head, and he couldn't get it out of his mind. "

"The Borribles go for Broke" is the second in a trilogy of books by Michael de Larrabeiti, all about a group of children living on the streets of London. These children are runaways who have been "Borribled"- they have stopped ageing and their ears have become pointy- and they are shown as living adventurous and colourful if rather dangerous lives in contrast to the boring adult world around them.

Besides being brilliant stories, the Borrible books were rather famous for the amount of swearing and violence they contained, which was considered unsuitable for children's books. For this reason, they went out of print for some time and became almost completely unavailable. They've been back on UK shelves since 2002, however, so if you want to read them you can get a copy from any good bookshop or from online sellers like Amazon.

Page 143. " The one about the sea-serpent with toothache winding itself round the lighthouse "

Mo doesn't explain how the lighthouse helps the sea serpent's toothache, but if you ever meet one with a similar problem, you might want to suggest one of the following, slightly more mainstream remedies to him:

1) Put an ice cube on the tooth (or the cheek closest to it) for 15 minutes, three times a day.

2) Crush some garlic and put it next to the affected tooth (Hippocrates' favourite cure- garlic tastes absolutely revolting raw, though!)

3) Drink some peppermint tea with a little salt in.

4) For the OVER 18s ONLY, rubbing whisky on your gums apparently works too.

Sea Serpent
Public DomainSea Serpent


Page 144. " The knew everything about Beowulf and Grendel, the ancient gods and the not-quite-so ancient heroes "


Beowulf first page
Public DomainBeowulf first page

Beowulf and Grendel are two of the main characters from the epic poem "Beowulf", which is famous for being the oldest surviving poem in the English language. It is, however, written in Old English, which is almost completely unintelligible to modern English speakers today! As an example, here's the beginning of the original text: 


Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum, 
þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon, 
hu ða æþelingas         ellen fremedon. 
Oft Scyld Scefing         sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum,         meodosetla ofteah, 
egsode eorlas.
See? It's a totally different language! If you don't have the time or inclination to learn Old English, you might be better off reading Beowulf in translation.