The Giant’s Necklace (a short story from Hereabout Hill) written by Michael Morpurgo

 

The Giant’s Necklace written by Michael Morpurgo is a fantastic read!  It is a thrilling ghost story that revisits Cornwall’s industrial past. The Giant’s Necklace is a short story and is not a book on its own.  The story is part of a collection of stories which you can find in Michael Morpurgo’s book – ‘From Hereabout Hill.’

The Giant’s Necklace is a haunting story about a little girl who is swept out to sea. The story begins with Cherry, who is the main character, making a necklace out of glistening, pink cowrie shells. It has taken Cherry a long time to make this necklace and it is nearly complete. Cherry is determined that it will be the longest necklace she has ever made; that it would be fit for a giant! Cherry is on holiday with her family and it is their last day and despite the taunts of her older brothers, she is determined to finish the necklace and sets off to the beach to search for them. However, soon the tide is coming in fast, and Cherry knows that she has made a promise with her mother to be back before it gets dark, so she starts to climb back up the cliff towards the cottage in Eagle’s Nest where they are staying. However, there is a giant storm and a ferocious wave sweeps her off her feet and at this point events begin to take a turn for the worst.  Will Cherry ever finish her cowrie shell necklace? Will Cherry ever see her family again?

This story really is a gripping read with an eerie twist at the end.  It will certainly send a shiver down your spine and no doubt a tear in your eye too!

 As a Year 6 teacher, I think this is the perfect story to use to inspire children to write creatively. My class always love reading this story and we read it over a couple of sessions during Literacy. They always want to read on and are always eager to find out how the story ends. I would definitely recommend ‘The Giant’s Necklace’ as is an ideal story to use in Literacy – perfect for Year 5 and 6 children. 

 Literacy ideas using ‘The Giant’s Necklace’ as a stimulus:

  • Hot seat the main character, Cherry. What does she think about the miners and their unusual appearance?  How did she feel when the people at the top of the cliff ignored her calls for help?  Conscience Alley – explore the end of the story when Cherry is back at her holiday cottage with her family.  What should Cherry do?  One side to convince Cherry that she should stay with her family.  The other side of the line convince Cherry to leave the cottage and go somewhere else e.g. go back to the miners.
  • Write a detailed description of the miners using evidence from the text.
  • Lots of opportunities for the children to predict what they think might happen next throughout the story.
  • Write a diary entry written through the eyes of Cherry.
  • Get children to answer a range of comprehension questions using evidence from the text to support their answers e.g. Who was Cherry making the necklace for? What was the relationship like between Cherry and her brothers? On page 9 the author writes, “She would have noticed the white horses gathering out at sea…’  Why has the author used these words and what does he mean?  What evidence is there in the text to suggest that the miners are in fact ghosts?
  • Write a sequel to the Giant’s Necklace in similar style.
  • Write a newspaper report on the disappearance of Cherry using correct style and features.

I highly recommend using this story in a series of Literacy lessons and I am always impressed with the quality of writing produced.  I love listening to the children’s responses throughout the story and finding out what they think has happened to Cherry and who they think the miners might be.  I also love the fact the children are eager to read on and find out what happens next.  I think every teacher should have a copy of ‘From Hereabout Hill’ in their classroom! 

 Bree House

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