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‘Why do I feel so alone?’ See page 29

wHaT’s iNsIdE tHiS iSsUe Welcome to Stew In this sample, you’ll find a selection of the kind of stories appearing in each issue of Stew, the new magazine for children aged 8 to 12. Stew is designed to complement the school curriculum in a fun, entertaining and informative way. So there are engaging features on the core subjects of History, Science, the Arts and the World. Young readers will also find plenty to amuse and stimulate their creative minds, with puzzles, how-to-draw pages and competitions. The articles are carefully written to appeal to this age group and illustrated by original drawings from a range of top artists. To give a child you know a great boost to their education, take out a subscription to Stew today by visiting



4 News All the latest stories from around the world. 8 What to read Reviews of recent publications and interviews with top writers. 10 History Bringing to life momentous events from the past.



16 The Arts Insight on the people and trends that shape our cultural life. 18 The World Fascinating examinations of natural phenomena.


20 Short story Gripping fiction by some of our best writers.

Happy reading, Ali Fraser

22 Photo essay Stunning pictures about a news event or topical story.

Who we are

Editor Ali Fraser Launch art editor Katie Harnett Illustrators Jesse Hodgson, Katie Harnett, Yelena Bryksenkova, Ruby Taylor

About Stew

Stew is published six times a year by Stew Magazines Ltd. Reproduction of editorial and illustrations is strictly prohibited without prior permission. Copyright 2013 Stew Magazines.

14 Science Answering those puzzling questions about practical issues.

28 Call that a painting? A series looking at artists and styles through the ages.



29 Help! Our trained counsellor replies to readers’ letters. 30 Daisy the Daydreamer She should be paying attention, but Daisy’s always drifting off.

what’s inside 3

nEwS lOnG sUmMeR hOlS cOuLd bE eNdEd The traditional sixweek summer holiday could soon be a thing of the past, after the government said schools could set their own term dates. The decision will be welcome news for some children, who get bored over the long summer break. And parents will be pleased if the cost of holidays - which rise dramatically when schools are shut - are reduced. Some schools, including free schools, academies and voluntary-aided schools are already free to cut the holiday period. But the government has been warned of opposition to the plan if a family’s children go to more than one school that have different holiday dates. And some teachers also object to the plan, as they say they need a long break to recover at the end of an exhausting school year.

4 news

bAkE a cAkE aNd dOn’t fEeL dOwN Baking is not just fun to do - it can also put you in a good mood. In August, temporary bakeries will pop up in cities around Britain, with the proceeds going to mental health charities. The organiser of the bakeries, Emma Thomas, said “There’s no scientific research to explain why or how baking helps to make you feel better, but it is therapeutic, and it helps many people.”

bOy lEfT aT sWiMmInG pOoL




An eight-year-old boy was left behind when his school returned from a local swimming pool. The pupil at Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary

of David

Cameron has been taken to

hospital after


a sticker

stuck up her nose

pArEnTs rAcE mIsHaPs rIsE Mums and dads are buying more painkillers because of injuries at the Parents Race on school sports days. Sprained ankles and pulled muscles are increasingly frequent as ultra-competitive parents try to win the annual race at their children’s school. The Co-operative supermarket chain says sales of bandages, painkillers and plasters soar by up to 50 per cent in June and July, when schools’ sports days are traditionally held.

in mid-Devon was still changing after the swimming lesson when his school bus left. He began walking back and was picked up by someone who recognised his school uniform. The school’s executive head teacher, Heather Perry, said teachers were horrified when they realised the mistake. She said in future staff would take a register on the school bus as well as doing a head count. Also, children would be paired up with ‘buddies’ to ensure greater safety.

dO tHe bRiTiSh hAtE cAmPiNg? Camping is this country’s least favourite type of holiday, according to a new survey. Nine out of 10 people say they hate it, claim the company Holiday Extras. But Dan Yates, the founder of the camping website, said the claim was outrageous.

* One in 10 primary school leavers has drunk alcohol in the past week

wRiNkLeS iN tHe bAtH eXpLaInEd

tOuGhEr lEsSoNs fOr yOuNgStErS

Ever wondered why your fingers and toes go wrinkly in warm water? Scientists now believe this evolved when cavemen and women were searching for food in wet conditions. The ridges on their skin would help them grip slippery objects and keep their feet on slimy ground For a long time it was thought the wrinkles happened because your skin had swollen when you spent too long in the bath But recent experiments suggest another reason. Volunteers were asked to pick up marbles from a bucket of water with one hand and put them in a container. Those with wrinkly fingers found this easier than the volunteers whose fingers were smooth.

Children as young as five are to learn about fractions, times tables and mental arithmetic. They will be taught to read and write up to 100, count in multiples of ones, twos, fives and tens and do simple addition and subtraction in their head. Children will also learn about simple fractions such as 1⁄2 and 1⁄4 at the age of five instead of waiting until they are aged seven, and algebra will be taught at the age of 10. They will also be required to learn 12 times tables by the time they are nine. These changes are designed to improve schools in Britain so they are on the same level as the best in the world, such as in Hong Kong, Singapore and Finland. They will be introduced in 2014.

* PaReNtS rAiD pIgGy bAnKs

* Princess Eugenie says the Harry Potter novels helped her cope with dyslexia

bIg mAc aNd a bOoK, pLeAsE McDonald’s is to replace plastic toys with children’s books in its Happy Meals. The fast-food chain plans to give away more than 15 million non-fiction books about topics such as planets, the rainforest and big cats. One book will be included with every Happy Meal instead of the toy.

If you wondered how your mum and dad managed to afford all those presents last Christmas, you might want to check your piggy bank. Thirty per cent of all parents admit to raiding their children’s savings, say One in eight borrow at least once a week, and the average amount taken is more than £50. A fifth admit they rarely if ever pay the money back.

mObIlE pHoNeS bEiNg mIsUsEd Lives are being put at risk because children are making needless calls to emergency services on old mobile phones. When parents upgrade to a new phone, they often let their children play with the old model. But in the American state of Wisconsin, this is causing a problem that could endanger lives. The old phones may have been deactivated, but they can still dial 911, the US number for services such as the fire brigade and ambulance. The emergency call centres say this is putting lives at risk.

Children aged 7 to 14 will have to study cookery at school from the autumn

bOy aGeD 11 mAkEs pOp sOnGs fOr kIdS A boy of 11 has launched a record company that makes pop songs with lyrics and tunes that appeal to children of his age. Michael Keefe, from Knebworth, Hertfordshire, said his company, called Zeamu, would make songs that are targeted at primary school children and are about subjects close to their heart, such as falling out with best friends and feeling isolated in the playground.

news 5

ShE’lL pUt a sPeLl oN yOu oUr fAsCiNaTiNg fEaTuRe oN wItChEs pAgE 18

tHiNgS tO dO... * mArCh

and even lessons on how to create your own chocolate. Better get there early otherwise you might find the place choc-o-block with other sweet-toothed fans. Mar 9-10. New Road , Opposite Royal Pavilion BN1. www.festivalchocolate.

hOrRiBlE hIsToRiEs lIvE mAnChEsTeR A couple of the popular Horrid History stories are brought vividly to life in these quirky stage shows using actors and 3D special effects. The Terrible Tudors looks at the period from those horrible Henrys to the end of evil Elizabeth, and then includes the Spanish Armada appearing to sail into the audience. Meanwhile, with Vile Victorians, you can find out about baby

farmers, the misery of the mines and the filth of the factories. All great and gruesome stuff. As a bonus, Terry Deary, the author of the Horrible Histories, will be signing copies of his books after the 2.30pm Saturday performance. Mar 5-9, The Lowry Theatre, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ. Tickets: 0843 208 6000;

jOuSt a mInUtE! lEeDs surprising that over the centuries many famous artists have drawn and painted them. This enjoyable exhibition of pooches and purr machines brings together paintings, photography, sculpture, book illustrations and postcards. Ends Mar 15. Royal West of England Academy, BS8 1PX. 0117 973 5129;

Experience the thrills and spills of live jousting this Easter Bank Holiday weekend as the Royal Armouries hosts a threeday tournament. Knights in full armour will battle on horseback in an authentic display of medieval jousting. Before the final at 2.15pm on Easter Monday there will be a parade of the knights

Cats and dogs have been our favourite pets since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, so it’s not

wearing, swordswinging Spaniard who dashed around defending ordinary people against the cruel rich landowners. This exciting stage show recreates the thrilling adventures of the hero who’d scratch the letter Z on the ground to let his enemies know they’d been defeated by none other than Zorro. Mar 29. East wood Park Theatre, Rouken Glen Road , Giffnock, G46 6UG. www.eastwood

wE’rE aLl cHoCoHoLiCs

hOw wE uSeD tO lIvE



Do you like chocolate? Silly question. Of course you do, which is why you’ll want to pop into the Chocolate Festival. There are dozens of stalls where you can find everything from hot chocolate to chocolate cakes, chocolate churros to chocolate pretzels and chocolate chilli. There are free tutored tasting sessions

Before the 1950s there were hardly any black or Asian children in Britain. In the 1970s there were just three television channels. And as little as 10 years ago, there was no YouTube or Facebook. This fascinating exhibition looks at how children’s lives have altered in Britain between the London Olympic Games in 1948 and 2012 - 64 years during which young people experienced major changes in education, health, safety and technology.

and their heralds. Don’t miss the pomp, pageantry and passion of a true medieval tournament. You can even cheer on your favourite knight with a special flag made in the Heraldry workshop. Mar 30-Apr 1. Royal Armouries Museum, Armouries Drive LS10 1LT. 0113 220 1999; www.

rEiGnInG cAtS aNd dOgS bRiStOl

came along to save the day there was Zorro, a mask-

tHe fIrSt mAsKeD hErO gLaSgOw Before Batman and other modern Caped Crusaders

Modern British Childhood 1948-2012, until Sun Apr 14 at the www. museumof

things to do 7


oOkS tO eAd

Mistress of the Storm By ML Welsh Verity Hunter is just a normal, lonely little girl who doesn’t fit in. But suddenly it’s down to her to solve the riddle of an ancient pledge and protect her family from the evil Mistress of the Storm. What hope does she have against a witch so powerful that she can control the wind and create storms at will? Luckily, Verity does not have to face her enemy alone. As events begin to spiral out of control, she finds two loyal and steadfast friends to stand by her side. The Storm is coming. And it will change Verity’s life forever. “This book kept me gripped and was a real page-turner.” (Lucy, aged 11)

The Spook’s Blood: Book 10 By Joseph Delaney

Switched (My Sister the Vampire, No 1) By Sienna Mercer

Time is running out for Thomas Ward. His final battle against the Fiend is drawing near, and the Spook’s apprentice has never felt more alone in his task. Isolated and afraid, the Fiend is set to send the greatest of his servants against him - Siscoi, a Vampire God more ferocious than anything he has yet faced. Tom must risk his life to prevent the evil beast from entering this world, even as he learns that the final destruction of the Fiend may involve a sacrifice more terrible than he can imagine...

When Olivia Abbott moves to town, she’s excited to join the cheerleading team and make new friends. Then she meets Ivy Vega. At first, Ivy, pale and dressed all in black, looks like Olivia’s opposite. Then the girls look beyond the glittery pink blush and thick black eyeliner to discover they’re identical - identical twins! Olivia and Ivy are brimming with plans to switch places and pull every twin trick in the book. But Olivia soon “Full of unexpected discovers twists and turns, that she and and a book every Ivy aren’t girl can relate to.” exactly the (Joanna, aged 8) same. Ivy’s a vampire. And she’s not the only one in town.

“It is a fast-paced, actionpacked story with a spooky factor!” (Jonny, aged 10)




The Windvale Sprites By Mackenzie Crook When a storm sweeps through the country, Asa wakes up the next day to find that his town is almost unrecognisable - trees have fallen down, roofs have collapsed and debris lies everywhere. But amongst the debris in his back garden Asa makes an astounding discovery - the body of a small winged creature. A creature that looks very like a fairy. Do fairies really exist? Asa embarks on a mission to find out. A mission that leads him to the lost journals of local eccentric Benjamin Tooth who, 200 years earlier, claimed to have discovered the existence of fairies. See our interview with Mackenzie.

“This is an excellent book! You start reading and you just can’t stop!” (Charlie, aged 10)

The actor Mackenzie Crook, who starred alongside Jonny Depp in The Pirates of the Caribbean, recently wrote his first book, a gripping story called The Windvale Sprites. It’s about a boy called Ada, who wakes up after a huge storm has swept the country and discovers a tiny creature. Could it be a fairy? Do they exist? The idea for the story came to Mackenzie after the Great Storm of 1987, and he wrote it to

entertain his son, aged eight, who is dyslexic. Here he talks about how hard writing is, especially compared to his other job – acting. Besides his film appearances Mackenzie has also appeared in the TV series The Office. But acting, he says, is much easier than writing. “I have done nothing more nerveracking than writing this book,” he says. “It’s there in black and white for everyone to judge.”



ThE WhOlE CiTy’S BuRnInG DoWn! ThE GrEaT FiRe oF LoNdOn bEgAn wItH oNe tInY sPaRk bUt bEfOrE lOnG mOsT oF tHe cItY wAs iN fLaMeS...


n the middle of the night on September 2nd 1666, a baker called Thomas Farriner was woken by the smell of burning. He rushed downstairs to discover he’d forgotten to put out the fire in an oven used to make bread. A spark had jumped out of the oven and within moments Thomas’s



wooden shop was ablaze. And so began the Great Fire of London, in which many people died, tens of thousands lost their homes and much of Britain’s capital city burnt to the ground. But how did one tiny spark cause so much damage, why did the fire last so long – and was it started deliberately?

BeFoRe tHe FiRe


fter a long, dry summer – there had been little rain for 10 months – conditions were just right for a fire to take hold. Thomas’s shop, close to the River Thames, was in the poorest part of London, where houses were crammed together – many of them separated not by a street but

just a narrow alleyway. This made it easy for the flames to jump from one building to the next. In those days, few buildings were made of stone, particularly in the poorer areas. Instead, their frames were wooden and the walls were either a mixture of dried mud and animal hair or wooden boards – all of which would burn easily. To make matters worse,

people were getting ready for winter by stocking up piles of wood and coal, and warehouses by the river were full of cloth, tobacco, brandy and gunpowder and other materials that would fuel the fire. All those factors put together meant the fire would spread quickly through London – especially as there was a gale force wind to fan the flames. >>

WaS tHe fIrE sTaRtEd dElIbErAtElY? We now know the cause, but at the time few people had any idea how the fire began, and many were convinced it had been started on purpose. Rumours spread almost as fast as the fire itself. Could it have been a Catholic plot to shake this country’s Protestant faith? Or was it a foreign agent, possibly acting on behalf of our biggest enemy France?

London would have been a scary place during those four days: as the city went up in flames, robbers were looting houses while gangs roamed the streets looking for foreigners. A few days later a Frenchman called Robert Hubert seemed to confirm suspicions when he confessed to starting the fire. He was tried at a court of law, but during his trial it was clear he was



<< PaNiC iN tHe



ot only were the buildings squashed together, but each one was crammed with people. To make a bit of money, many families would take in

ThE fIrE rAgEs


hen fire broke out that night, these wretched people panicked. They were afraid for their lives and fought with each other to escape down narrow alleys as the flames raced towards them. As the fire tore through the streets, fanned by



that strong easterly wind, people left everything behind and clambered aboard boats on the river or escaped to fields outside London. But many others died, especially children, the elderly and those who were sick. The fire was so hot, it melted the lead roof of St Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cathedral;

lodgers, who would share the same cramped rooms. So an ordinary house that today might be home to you and your mum and dad could have had 20 or even 30 people living inside it. A lawless area north of the river known as

it melted the chains on gates and even the bars of Newgate jail. Amid this panic and confusion, gangs of robbers roamed the area helping themselves to the possessions that people had been forced to abandon. They knew everyone else was either running for their lives or trying to douse the flames.

Alsatia was the most over-crowded. It had just two lanes wide enough for a cart. Otherwise, criminals and Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poorest had to squeeze down narrow passageways and up wooden staircases to houses that were almost touching.

WhAt hApPeNeD? Without looking at the story, can you answer these questions:

WhErE dId tHe fIrE bReAk oUt

WhY kEePiNg a dIaRy iS a gOoD iDeA London had its own newspaper, The Gazette, but on the second day of the fire, the building where it was printed burnt down. We wouldn’t know much about what happened were it not for those people who kept diaries. One man in particular, Samuel Pepys (pronounced peeps), had been keeping a diary since 1660. When the fire broke out, he travelled a�round on foot and by boat, writing down what he saw, and his daily writings have become a vital source of information.

a. Pudding Lane b. Sandwich Street c. Biscuit Alley

WeRe tHe hOuSeS mAdE mOsTlY oF a. Stone b. Wood c. Lego bricks

HoW lOnG dId tHe fIrE lAsT a. Four days and nights b. Four weeks c. Forgotten?

SaMuEl PePyS wRoTe aBoUt tHe fIrE iN hIs a. Facebook page b. Diary c. Postcard to his mum

There was no fire brigade at that time, so those people who stayed behind to tackle the inferno formed into lines and passed buckets of water from the river. But this had little effect against the flames, so they used hooks to pull down houses and even gunpowder to destroy buildings in an

effort to stop the fire spreading.

It’s aLl oVeR


ut after a long battle against the fire, these people - though exhausted and knowing they had lost everything - finally put out the last of the flames. The Great Fire was over. It had lasted four

days and four nights. During that time, more than 13,000 homes were burnt to the ground and a third of the City of London was destroyed. Six months later, smoke was still smouldering from piles of ash, and it took 50 years for a new London – this time a city of stone, not of wood – to be rebuilt.



OuCh! ThAt rEaLlY hUrTs Stubbed toes, grazed knees and headaches all have one thing in common – they hurt. But is pain a good thing? Do some people never feel it at all? And why do scientists think they might have found the perfect pain-killer in the venom from poisonous snakes?

WhY wE nEeD tO fEeL pAiN Pain is simply a way of our body telling us something is wrong. If we didn’t feel that discomfort, we might not seek medical treatment and could do more damage to ourselves. The cause is often obvious – when we’ve cut our finger while slicing up an apple, for instance – and the cure is usually simple: a plaster here, some Calpol there. But when the cause is not so clear, pain can be a good guide and can help doctors diagnose what the problem actually is.

DeScRiBiNg pAiN Talking clearly about your pain is a way of giving medical experts useful clues as to what’s wrong, and they will usually guide you by asking specific questions about your pain – is it dull, throbbing or sharp; how does it compare with other kinds of pain you’ve had; is it in one place or does it move around?

WhEn tHe pAtIeNt dOeSn’t tAlK aBoUt tHe pAiN The doctor’s job is harder when the patient can’t or won’t tell them anything. Babies, of course, can’t talk, so will cry when they’re in pain; but they also cry when they’re hungry, or bored, and the doctor has to know one kind of cry from another. Sometimes a person cannot describe the pain. This might occur because they’re in a foreign country and don’t speak the local language, or they have



dementia (a condition that makes some old people confused and forgetful). In some Asian societies, talking about pain is considered a sign of weakness. Whenever these circumstances occur, doctors have to use all their experience to watch the patient for tell-tale signs, such as the person shielding one part of their body, or grimacing when they are gently examined.

HoW wE fEeL pAiN Nerves, which are like tiny wires running through your body, send messages to and from your brain. If you prick your thumb with a needle, a special kind of nerve in your hand transmits an ‘ouch’ signal to your head. The brain works out where the pain has come from and decides how you should respond (usually by making you yelp and sometimes crying). The brain also stores up this incident so you will remember that needles are sharp and will hurt if they stick in your skin. That sounds obvious, but without that final stage in the process, you would never learn not to jab a needle into yourself. The brain, then, is the control centre where we actually experience pain. But curiously, the brain itself doesn’t have what are called pain receptors, so cannot feel any pain

ImAgInArY pAiN If you think of the nervous system as a very complicated map of wires sending and messages to the brain from all over the body, it’s easy to understand how the brain can sometimes get confused, as if the wires are tangled. Sometimes this happens when people have lost a leg or an arm, yet bizarrely they still feel pain where their limb used to be. Scientists are beginning to explore how playing virtual reality games may help the brain to rewire itself properly.

LoNg-lAsTiNg pAiN Most pain is acute. In other words, it occurs suddenly – when we bump our head, for example, or cut our finger – but quickly disappears. Long-lasting, or chronic, pain is much worse. You have to live with it, sometimes for years, and that constant suffering can make people depressed. You may need to take strong medication for a long time, and that can cause its own problems – the medicine might give you headaches, or cause you to put on weight. So while short-term pain can be useful, doctors are keen to find ways of dealing with long-term, chronic suffering.

UsInG eMoTiOnS tO cOnTrOl pAiN One way of dealing with it is by getting people to have happy thoughts. That might sound silly, but pain is not just physical, it is also connected to the way we think and feel. wEmotions, in other words, change the way our brain handles messages from the part of the body that’s been hurt.

HoW dO wE kNoW tHiS? Scientists have used volunteers to show that pain seems worse when someone is unhappy. The volunteers are deliberately made to feel upset by listening to sad music

and reading nasty things about themselves. Then, in carefully controlled experiments, they are subjected to some pain, and asked to describe how bad it feels. Although this sounds cruel, it is a useful way of demonstrating to the scientists how our mood affects the way we experience pain. And as a result, many doctors now treat patients in two ways – in the conventional sense by giving them medicine, but also by getting them to meditate and think positively.

NeVeR fEeLiNg pAiN Not everyone feels pain. A few people have a rare condition affecting those particular nerves that carry the ‘pain’ message to the brain, and as a result don’t feel any pain at all. We might envy these people, but pain is a vital warning sign. Without it, these unlucky individuals have no way of telling whether their feelings of exhaustion, for example, are due to a simple cold or something lifethreatening. Researchers are now busily trying to work out how this fault blocks pain. If they can copy it and make a drug that performs the same function, we might have a very effective medicine that only tackles the pain and doesn’t cause any nasty sideeffects.

pOiSoNoUs cUrE As part of their research, the scientists have discovered, bizarrely, that venom from snakes, spiders and scorpions contains an ingredient that blocks the pain message. So next time you see a poisonous spider, don’t stamp on it: the little creature might save you a lot of pain one day.



pArAdIsE lOsT The strange and tragic case of a disappearing country


Illustration: Jesse Hodgson

he nation of Kiribati in the Pacific looks like paradise on earth, with palm trees coming down to the beach and golden sands lapped by warm water. But for those who live there, it is more like hell on earth. And in 30 years’ time, it could have vanished. What’s going on? A group of children from different countries were interviewed recently and were asked what scared them most. Those living in comfortable homes in

16 world

wealthy countries said things like ‘mice!’ and ‘bad dreams’. But the youngsters growing up on Kiribati had a different answer. ‘Big waves,’ said one. ‘The sea level rising,’ replied another. To outsiders, Kiribati (pronounced kiri-buss) must look like heaven - with palm-fringed beaches and a beautiful warm climate all year round. But for those living in this tiny country in the middle of the Pacific, life is anything but ideal. The 33 islands that make up Kiribati are all low-lying - on average no higher than your

front door - but climate change is causing the sea level to rise. And that means before long, this country could be swallowed up by the ocean surrounding it.

fAmIlY lIfE The salt water is creeping inland, killing crops and washing away fertile soil. And the islands are also hit by regular flooding caused by tropical storms, resulting in further damage. Family life is very important here, and large numbers of children are common. Many of the islanders live in

communal homes with aunts, uncles and grandparents all under one roof. The elder girls will watch over their younger brothers and sisters, as well as wash and clean, while the boys go fishing and help rear the family pigs and chickens. Now that existence is under threat. One young mother said: ‘Our culture and our way of life will die. And that scares me.’ Kiribati is very poor because there is not much it can sell to other countries. Its coconut trees are dying and most of the

fish in the surrounding waters have gone.

nO mOnEy So it has little money to build sea walls that might protect the land from the encroaching ocean. And if does spend money on these defences, that means there is less for other essential needs such as education, health and transport. To make matters worse, while the land is shrinking, the birthrate is rising. Kiribati’s population may only be 100,000, but that is set to double in 30 years. If it can’t feed its people today, what will happen then? Half of the population lives in the capital Tarawa, which is as densely packed as London. But unlike Britain’s capital, there are no tall buildings in Tarawa, so every scrap of land has been taken.

As the graveyards are full, residents are burying the dead next to their homes. That is a potential health hazard. Officials are also worried about people now living above the city’s underground freshwater supply. Dead animals and humans buried there could contaminate the soil and seep into the water, leading to an outbreak of serious disease such as cholera. Rubbish is often not collected but left to be flooded by seawater at high tide, causing water

pollution and infections. Twice as many young children die on Kiribati as elsewhere in the Pacific region. There are hardly any toilets on the islands, so people poo in the sea or in bushes. And as water is scarce, they don’t usually wash their hands afterwards, which leads to the spread of disease.

sInKiNg iSlAnDs What can be done? The Kiribati government is encouraging people to move to some of the uninhabited islands and abroad. But other countries in the region, such as wealthy nations as Australia and New Zealand, are reluctant to let in possibly thousands of migrants. So the situation goes from bad to worse. In 30 years, Kiribati

might be uninhabitable or could even have disappeared. Bwena Iona, a 20-year-old local girl, is worried for the future. ‘People have to live so close together,’ she says, ‘and the overcrowding means they have little privacy, a lot of rubbish and poor sanitary conditions, which affects people’s health, especially young children. ‘The line between life and death here is very thin. It’s a pity to see these beautiful islands might, or actually will, sink in the not-so-distant future.’

world 17

ShE’lL pUt a sPeLl oN yOu!

published in 1487. The book, called Hammer of the Witches, ridiculed anyone who didn’t believe in witchcraft, and its message soon took hold in countries such as Britain, Since women traditionally live We’re Denmark and Germany. In time, the all longer than men, the wise old healers panic crossed to America, leading to familiar tended to be ageing widows. a series of witch-hunts in the 1690s. And sometimes these ancient Christians felt their religion was with witches, under threat from the devil, and they those old crones in pointy black hats women, living alone in poverty – who brew evil potions and fly around perhaps with just a black cat for believed that his diabolical work was on broomsticks. You’ll find them in company – would earn a few pennies being performed on earth by an army by making herbal cures. of witches. many stories, from the nasty trio When these worked and the illness As this climate of fear grew in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and that wicked one in the Wizard of Oz to disappeared, it was like magic. stronger, people began to ‘see’ jolly types like Winnie the Witch. But if the mixture was wrong or the witches everywhere. Soon, hundreds person was too sick to recover, the then thousands of innocent individuals But did they really exist? Why are finger of blame soon pointed at the were accused of sorcery. they usually women? And do people old crone. still believe in them today? The trouble was, lots of people She poisoned her neighbour! It was ‘looked’ like witches. The pointy hat was a traditional form of headwear FrOm wIsE wOmAn tO wIcKeD deliberate! She’s evil! worn by many poor women in that And before long the healer’s wItCh period. And a broom would be as Witchcraft wasn’t always seen reputation changed – from wise common then as a dustpan and brush as bad. Before we had modern woman to wicked witch. medicine, sick people were often is now. Since it was impossible to prove HoW tO sPoT a wItCh treated with natural remedies, such as herbal mixtures. And those who The belief that witches were harmful that someone was a witch, it was just as impossible for anyone who knew best how to make these cures became widespread throughout had been accused to disprove it. were usually poor, elderly peasants Europe after a manual, or handbook, Innocent people didn’t stand a living in the countryside. on how to identify them was



chance if someone pointed a finger at them.. And if anybody ever dared to say there was no such thing as evil sorcerers, then they’d be looked at suspiciously – perhaps they were trying to hide something; maybe they were witches themselves!

tOrTuRe aNd tRiAlS Those suspected of witchcraft were put on trial. Some were tortured, while others were given tests that supposedly gave them a chance to show their innocence. But the tests were impossible. One of them was a so-called ordeal by water: here, a person was thrown into a river – if they floated they were being helped by the devil and therefore were a witch, while if they sank – and drowned, of course - they were innocent. Over the next 300 years, thousands of witch-hunts and

in history, books were widely available and their message could easily reach many people. Its publication also coincided with WhY iT’s nEaRlY aLwAyS wOmEn a period of turmoil in Christianity The Hammer of the Witches manual across Europe. As so often happens, made women’s lives, in particular, when people’s religious beliefs are a misery. Women, it claimed, were shaken, extreme ideas can take more likely than men to become hold. witches because they were weak And when people are afraid, and easily tempted by the devil. they frequently blame others ¬Yet if a woman tried to argue sometimes foreigners, or people against that claim, or even if she with different coloured skin, or, as were just strong-willed, that was in this case, those who were said to also ‘proof’ of witchcraft. No wonder be disciples of the devil. that 80 per cent of those who were executed were women. aRe tHeRe wItChEs tOdAy? Two women were tried as witches in Britain as recently as 1944. But wHy wAs tHe mAnUaL sO after the law against witchcraft was pOpUlAr? Hammer of the Witches became abolished in 1951, people were free influential because it happened to call themselves witches if they to be published shortly after the wished. And some do. For the most part, development of the printing press. This meant that for the first time they are harmless individuals

trials took place, and as many as 100,000 people were executed – most of them burnt at the stake.

WiTcHeS aNd WiCkEd BoDiEs

Such a powerful superstition as witchcraft has fascinated artists for many centuries. And you can see how the practice of sorcery has been captured at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. An exhibition there, called Witches an Wicked Bodies, will look at the different ways in which witches have been portrayed, from old hags to beautiful women, by well-known painters such as Goya, William Blake and Paula Rego. From July 27 to Nov 3 (£7/£5). www.



Below: As the flames turn the sea and sky an eerie orange, the family dog looks ready to join the others in the water

ClInGiNg oN fOr lIfE


ive children from one family escaped with their lives recently when they were forced to jump into the sea to get away from raging wildfires in Australia. As these dramatic pictures show, the brothers and sisters had to leap off a jetty into the water as flames swept towards them.



The children – Matilda, aged 11, Liam, 9, Caleb, 6, Esther, 4, and twoyear-old Charlotte – were staying with their grandparents in the small seaside town of Dunalley on the island of Tasmania. But all of them had to flee when bushfires – caused by intense heatwaves and strong winds – roared ever closer. The five youngsters and their grandparents, Tim and Tammy Holmes, were encircled by flames. They had no choice but to run to the

end of the jetty and jump into the water. For hours, they clung together up to their necks in the chilly sea. But they still weren’t safe because the air was thick with smoke and burning embers. So their grandfather, who took these shocking photographs, grabbed a small boat, they clambered aboard and paddled a few hundred meters away from the shore. There the air was clearer, and eventually they were rescued.

Left: Tammy Holmes holds two of her grandchildren, while the other three cling to the wooden jetty

Right: Looking back towards land, the children can only watch as the nightmare fires destroy everything

Left: Nine-year-old Liam Walker gets ready to jump into the water as smoke billows all around the children

Left: The fire destroyed Dunalley school, the church, town hall and about 90 houses. Luckily nobody died Above: Nearby, children paddle in the sea while smoke from the wildfires billows across the sky



PuZzLeS BrAiN TeAsEr You are a cyclist in a long-

DiD YoU KnOw?

distance race. In the sprint towards the finish line, you overtake the person in second place! What position did you finish in?

It is physically impossible for a pig to look up at the sky.

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29 28

S 17

WoRd WhEeL

See how many words of three or more letters you can find in 10 minutes. Each word must contain the letter in the middle of the wheel. There is one word that contains all nine letters.

10 words = Good. 15 words = Excellent.




73 65



(Answer: Second place. If you overtake the person who was second, you fill their place and they become third.)







20 14 2



NuMbEr ToWeR Can you fill in the blanks in this number tower? Each number is the sum of the two numbers immediately below it.


Fill in the empty squares so that every row across and column down has the numbers 1 to 6. Remember, you can’t have the same number in any row, column or in the smaller thick-lined boxes.


FrUiT AnD VeGeTaBlEs


SuDoKu JoKeS



What do you say to the cow that’s taking up all the room on the sofa? Answer: Moo-ve over.

Knock knock Who’s there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, it’s cold out here.



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It’s easy to take for granted the clean and clear water that comes out of our taps. But that water comes from lakes and rivers, and starts off dirty and cloudy and full of bits and pieces. This basic experiment gives you an idea of how that muddy water is cleaned through a filter. Note, the water will look much cleaner, but it still wouldn’t be a good idea to drink it.

What to do:

To make a filter you need to build up layers of different materials. å First, carefully cut off the bottom of the bottle. ç Stuff the cotton wool in the neck of the bottle, like a winebottle cork. é Turn the bottle upside down and stand it in one of the jars. è Pour in some gravel. ê Spoon in the same amount of sand. ë Finally, cut a circle of kitchen towel to fit in the bottle and place it on the sand.

The experiment:

Mix the soil and water in your other jar until it’s all runny and dirty. Carefully pour this mixture onto the paper towel. Gradually it’ll filter down, and the sand, gravel and cotton wool will trap most of the dirt. The water that drips into the beaker should look cleaner.

å First, ask an adult to help cut four small notches in each stick. ç Soak the sticks in water for about an hour so the wood is flexible. é Wrap the floss around the notches at one of the stick a few times, carefully bend the stick (don’t snap it!) and wrap the floss around the notches at the other end. è Make sure the floss is tight. That’s your bow. ê Then get your ear buds, snip off one end, and you have your arrows. Before making the bow, you could paint or decorate it. You might need a bit of practice to shoot the arrows, but after a while you’ll find they can fly several feet - so watch out for others!

Illustrations: Lucy Wooler

Get an old photograph and cut it into narrow vertical strips. Make sure all the strips are facing upwards, shuffle them around, then sort them to remake the original picture. You can cut as many strips as you like - the more you do, the harder the puzzle. A magazine picture won’t work as well as the thick, glossy paper used for photographs - but make sure you have permission to cut up the photo. And ask an adult for help with the scissors if necessary.

Find an old web (make sure no spider is living in it) and å spray it with glitter paint. Don’t hold the can too close or you’ll break the web. ç Get a piece of stiff card, ideally black or another dark colour so the web will stand out. é Spray the card with hairspray so the web will stick to it. è Then hold the card behind the web and ê carefully bring it forwards until the web is on the card.

cAlL tHiS a pAiNtInG? In our series on different styles of art through the centuries, we look at: Impressionism, which developed in France in the 1890s WhO’s tHe aRtIsT? Claude Monet, born 1840, died 1926. WhAt’s tHe pAiNtInG? ‘Wheatstacks (end of summer)’, painted in 1891 WhAt sTyLe iS tHiS? Impressionism WhAt’s sPeCiAl aBoUt iMpReSsIoNiSm? Instead of painting exactly as you or I would see a scene, this style of art concentrates on the effects of colour and light in nature. Artists such as Monet

28 art

would study the shadow of an object, for instance, and bring out colours you wouldn’t expect to be there. So in this painting, the shadows of the orangebrown wheatstacks have streaks of blue. Monet did several paintings of haystacks throughout the year to show the effect of the seasons and different kinds of weather. Impressionists also wanted to capture the mood of the scene they were painting. If you look at a landscape of fields and trees, that scene will appear different at different times of day and in different weather. But not only that - the scene will also feel different.

To paint a particular moment - to capture the effects of the weather or the light at a certain time of day - the artists had to work quickly, before it changed. This meant they developed a new style of painting. There was no time for detailed work, so instead they used short, rapid brushstrokes. The result was not an exact copy of nature, but an impression of it, hence the term Impressionism. WhO eLsE pAiNtEd iN tHiS sTyLe? Other artists working in this way included Renoir, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec.


ShArE yOuR wOrRiEs aNd oUr aGoNy aUnT wIlL tRy tO hElP tHeM gO aWaY

I fEeL iGnOrEd bY mUm aNd dAd sInCe mY bRoThEr dIeD


ory, my younger brother, died last year from leukaemia, and nothing in our house has been the same since then. My mum never smiles anymore and my dad just spends even longer at work than before. They hardly talk to each other, or me. They‛re like a couple of zombies. I feel guilty that Rory died because my parents miss him so much, and maybe preferred him to me. But no one has really talked to me about his death. If they did, they‛d know how much I miss him, too. Should I say something to my mum and dad? Callum, Edinburgh Catherine replies: ‘Dear Callum. Losing someone close to us is about the hardest thing to get through and it sounds like you

are all struggling right now. It often happens that people think how bad it is for the parents but forget that losing a brother or sister can be just as difficult. Locking yourself away, like you in your bedroom or your dad at work, is a way of trying to deal with grief. Try to let your parents know how you feel will help more. Or perhaps you have a grandparent or another adult you can talk to? Seeing a counsellor together might really help you understand how each of you feels as well. Perhaps you could make a memory box with your parents so you can remember the good times you had with Rory and help bring you closer again. His death will always be sad but in time you will be able to move on and hold Rory in your memory without it being so painful.’

aLl mY fRiEnDs cAn wEaR mAkE-uP bUt i’m nOt aLlOwEd

Illustration: Jesse Hodgson


y mum won‛t let me wear make-up, which I think is really unfair because she does and so do all my friends. She says I‛m too young – I‛m 11 – and that I shouldn‛t want to look older than my age. But when my friends and I go into the town centre on a Saturday

afternoon, I feel stupid. We don‛t do anything except chat to some other people and a few boys, but the others all look cool and I just feel left out and embarrassed. How can I make my mum see that putting on some lipstick and eyeliner is just a bit of fun? Sophie, Worcester

Catherine replies: ‘Hi Sophie. Why do you think your mum is against you using make-up? Is she worried about you looking older than you are and getting attention from older guys? Can you talk to her about how she feels? It’s possibly hard for her to see you growing up and also to realise that times have changed since she was young. Maybe if you can reassure your mum that

you can act sensibly she might be more open to your point of view. Would it help if you went shopping together and tried to find a lip gloss that you both liked for starters? Fitting in with your friends is a natural feeling, but the time will come when deciding how much make-up you want to wear, rather than copying your friends or keeping your mum happy, will be what matters.’

Contact Catherine... If you have any emotional or physical worries, either at home or at school, then write to Stew’s own counsellor, Catherine. She’s an experienced counsellor who’s trained to offer useful advice to those who need it. Email her at or write to 4 Westwood Cottages TN6 3NA. Unfortunately, she can’t reply to everyone, but all letters to her are private and the contents never shared with others.

problem page 29

sTeW sUbScRiBe tOdAy bY gOiNg tO sTeWmAgAzInE.cO.uK/sUbScRiBe

Stew magazine (sample)  

Stew is the new magazine for children aged 8-12. It's full of informative features, stories, reviews, puzzles and more

Stew magazine (sample)  

Stew is the new magazine for children aged 8-12. It's full of informative features, stories, reviews, puzzles and more