Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Fall of the Last Roman Fort, the beginning of the end

By Andrew Hutchison, 2º ESO B

Lucius Quintus Maximus took off his sandals and threw out the stones which had collected in the bottom. Satisfied they were all gone he put the sandals back on his feet. He looked up. The sun was deep on the horizon and light was fading fast. He could see the wall in the distance and knew it would be completely dark by the time he got back, if he got back that is. He was a centurion of the 9th legion 4th cohort. He was sent on a mission in Britania to recover the lost eagle of the ninth. After recovering the sacred standard he journeyed to the closest Roman fort. He arrived at midnight and was tended to but did not sleep. The following morning he was shown to his cohort. He then demanded to see the commander of the fort. As he was travelling to the fort he hadfelt that he was being watched most of the way. He had then seen a man hiding in the forest next to the path. Lucius had been certain that the British were trailing him. He explained all of this to the commander, who rustled through his beard thoughtfully. After Lucius finished, the commander demanded that the fort be ready for battle. During the next few days swords were sharpened and armour cleaned. A ring of defensive stakes was made around the fort. Then they waited. A week passed and nothing happened. And much to Lucius’s distress, the commander gave the order to stand down. 
                                            That night, the British came...
Lucius was woken to the sound of screaming and of sword grinding on sword. Quickly he grabbed his own sword and ran outside. They had broken through the defenses and he could see that there was only a dozen or so Romans left defending the walls. The commander had fallen to the well-placed shot of an archer in the early stages of the battle. Now less than a dozen men were left. They fought to the bitter end and as the last one slumped forward, the British came in in overwhelming numbers. Knowing when to fight and when to run Lucius sprinted to the stables and saddled a horse. He then fought his way past some crazed British warriors and cantered out of the back gate until the fort was a speck in the horizon. The last foothold of Rome was broken and Lucius made his way to a port. He would go back to Rome but it would not be long until the Barbarians invaded it, too. This was the beginning of the end: the fall of Rome.
Alex FLINN (2007) Beastly, Harper Collins/
By Annvalery Escobar, 2º ESO B
Beastly is a re-make of Beauty and the Beast. The book is about a rude, good looking, rich teenager named Kyle Kingsbury, who would look down on people that were ugly and poor. In his high school there is a girl called Lindy who likes him (but he doesn’t even know she exists) and a mysterious Gothic girl named Kendra (who appears to be a witch) who one day cast a spell on him and he lost his second chance to become a better person. That night she turned him into what he really is underneath that good looking face: a beast. 
Kyle has two years to find someone that will love him for who he is, and, most important, to get her to tell him that she loves him. Eight months go by and he still hasn’t found a girl to love him. One night a thief breaks into Kyle’s house and...

This book is very interesting. It shows you how Kyle’s attitude changes slowly towards the end. It also tells a love story between a greedy boy who thinks he is the best and a girl called Lindy, who is poor but with a kind heart.

I would recommend it for people above ten years of age as it has some passages which may not be appropriate for under ten. There was nothing I did not like of the book.

Friday, 26 October 2012

In the unlikely case of being stranded on a deserted island...!
By Amira McQueen, 1º ESO B
If I were stranded on a deserted island for a month, and could only bring two things with me, they would have to be my parents. And technically no, this is not really cheating, but I suppose if this is insufficient, then I could understand.
I would take my father mostly because he is an ex-infantry soldier, therefore he could come very useful during the month. He could easily hunt animals and make weapons out of almost anything. Also, he would be able to provide fires and warmth. (I’m not calling him fat; I am merely saying he could skin animals.) He is basically like a Swiss Army Knife, but in person.
I would take my mother, not only because she can cook with almost anything, but because she is not flimsy either. She would probably stop us from going insane, which is one good thing. She is almost always positive, helping raise spirits. She is a counsellor, so she could basically even us out. Also, she cleans. I am not portraying women as slaves in the kitchen, cleaning after their husbands and children, but my mum really is OCD about things like that. Little imperfections bringing everything down. Initially, the more order and discipline somewhere. the easier it is to cope.
Those are the things/people I would bring. So, I would rather have a month laughing with my family even though we are missing some things, than spend a month crying to nothing about having nothing!
Stranded on an Island
By Marko Milanovic, 1ºESO B
If I were stranded on an island, the two main things that I would take with me are the following: a strong, good quality axe and a durable fishing rod.
On the first day in the island, I would take out my fishing rod and go fishing for a few hours until I got enough fish to feed myself for a couple of days. Then I would cut some wood into logs and make a shelter. I would make a rain collector out of wood for drinking water, and then attempt to find a stream.
On the island, I would always keep my axe with me in case I had to fight off some animals. Then with my axe and wood, I would make a spear to hunt. Successively, I would rest for a while and begin my search for animals and vegetables to eat. Later I would skin the animals and make the fur into winter clothes.
In the afternoons, I would rub two sticks together to make a fire. With the fire, I would cook the meat and the fish. The embers of the fire would keep me warm for the night. In winter, I would reinforce my shelter by adding a few more logs, a bigger fire and covering the walls with some layers of animal skins.
The two objects that I have chosen would help me to survive if stranded for a considerable amount of time. They would provide me with the tools to fulfil my basic human needs.
How to Survive on a Tropical Island
By Alex Constantin 1º ESO B
If I had to choose two objects to bring with me, the first one would be a machete. With it I would be able to cut through obstacles with no difficulty. You can chop and cut fruits you can find, like coconuts, and hunt animals. It can also be used for defending yourself if anything attacks you. Also, you can carve wood or stone you find to create more tools.
The second item I would take is a small mirror. With it, I would be able to make a fire faster with the reflection of the sun. That would provide me with heat at night, which is important in order to survive. Another useful feature of this object is that you can do the Morse code to contact boats in sight and inform them of your status.
Those are the two things I would take with me. The machete is a basic item that you would need to survive on a tropical island because you can cut through branches and other obstacles and you can hunt animals. In addition, the mirror can be a useful item at times, like when you are going to make a fire thanks to the reflection of the Sun.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Catherine Ryan Heart (2010), Second Hand Heart, Black Swan

Manny Lago, 2º ESO B

Second Hand Heart is an intriguing book which captivates your attention right from the start as it deals with a very sensitive topic. The storyline revolves around a nineteen year old girl called Vida who is very sick and has spent most of her life preparing for death. The sad situation is that for Vida to live, someone has to die.
In a parallel incident Richard loses his wife in a car accident. Vida inherits his wife’s heart. As part of the process of dealing with his wife’s loss Richard feels compelled to meet the girl who inherited his wife’s heart. In hospital, Vida sees Richard and immediately falls in love with him. The book explores how their feelings towards each other change over a period of time.
The book is written in the form of two diaries – that of Vida and of Richard.  It follows their lives from the day of the transplant and onwards for several months.  It deals with elements of life and death very sensitively. I would thoroughly recommend this book because I have enjoyed it immensely.