Until I Met Dudley by Roger McGough and Chris Riddell

If you haven’t yet discovered the world of machines and technology, as explained by the eponymous Dudley, then you haven’t lived! This incredibly fun, creative and inspiring text will have you thinking up amazing and unusual explanations for everyday processes. At the heart of the book is the professor pooch, Dudley, who talks the reader through the unusual means by which machines function…like the enormous snake that lives in your vacuum cleaner or the colony of polar bears keeping your fridge chilled!

Quick Activities

To really get the children thinking and stimulate excellent discussion, provide them with an image from the text without the written explanation. Can they explain to a partner how the machine works? How close were they to the ‘Dudley’ version? 

Explore the whole text with the children and ask them to pick their favorite machine. Can they then write an explanation of how the machine works or a set of instructions for caring for the creature that drives the machine? They might even need to create a set of health and safety instructions as the vacuum snake can get a little peckish between meals!

Extended Activities

‘Until I Met Dudley’ could be used as the stimulus for an extended English and DT project. Once the children are familiar with the text and have had a chance to explore written explanations or instructions for the machinery in the book, they could go on to create their own wild and wacky machines.

As further stimulus, the illustrations of Rube Goldberg provide further fun. The illustrator designs ridiculously complicated inventions to perform the simplest of tasks and accompanies each with minimal explanation. The children could try expanding on these before creating their own fully explained wacky inventions.

Finally, the children could be challenged to make a model of their invention. This could range from junk modeling to more skilled tasks such as projects incorporating simple syringe/tubing pneumatics or cam driven mechanisms. There is loads of fun to be had once you have met Dudley!

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