Aunt Sponge was enormously fat and very short. She had small piggy eyes, a sunken mouth and one of those white flabby faces that looked exactly as though it had been boiled. She was like a great white soggy overboiled cabbage. Aunt Spiker, on the other hand, was lean and tall and bony, and she wore steel-rimmed spectacles that fixed on to the end of her nose with a clip. She had a screeching voice and long wet narrow lips, and whenever she got angry or excited, little flecks of spit would come shooting out of her mouth as she talked.
Today during Read/Write time, I read this passage from James and the Giant Peach several times over. (This is the book I chose to follow The Witches - another Roald Dahl selection, and one that features insects!) The first time I read it, I had the children sit in our darkened room with eyes shut, and just picture in their minds how these two horrid aunties looked. Then they were encouraged to draw both characters, using as much detail and imagination as they could. I re-read the passage several times if a child requested it.
After, pairs of children had to invent a new, ghastly aunt. They brainstormed, using the following discussion points:
* If your aunt was a vegetable, what would she be? Why?
* If your aunt was an animal, what would she be? Why?
* If your aunt was a thing, what would she be? Why?
* What is your aunt's name?
Children then introduced their aunts to the class and were interviewed about them. We were going to vote to choose the most awful aunt, but decided that they were all terribly and deliciously disgusting.
This was a fun way to explore metaphors and similes in writing, and we will do more of this type of exercise in the future.