No misnomer – making this picturebook has been mission impossible! Mrs Heald’s Y2 class at Higher Openshaw Community School were full of ideas; so many, and so good, that we had to come up with a story that could include as many as possible. The result is a real rollercoaster ride of a tale, a rhyming adventure that whisks the reader through a series of wildly different worlds: under the sea, a digital games world, a ghostly zone, an alien place, etc. Linking these different environments, the rollercoaster rails spiral and loop, rise and fall, requiring language to match.
Early in the process we all went to the school hall and marked out a circular route on the floor using masking tape to represent the tracks. This was punctuated by large areas of paper, a separate zone for each themed world on the ride, where the children could sketch out their wild ideas. They were encouraged to write descriptive words next to their characters that could form the basis of the text. The result was a neatly circular story structure, with all the disparate ideas linked by the same main characters journeying through them along the rollercoaster rails.
Next the children set to work creating the backgrounds, using ink washes and bold crayons. Then they drew the characters in pencil and cut them out.
Everything was scanned into my Mac back at the studio, and arranged in InDesign to produce a proof copy of The Ultimate Test. I think we passed!