When teaching literature, there’s no better way to engage your students than with a work of art that immerses them in the story and its meanings. Fire, Bed & Bone by Henrietta Branford is just such a piece – evoking powerful imagery and full of diverse characters and stories that your students won’t soon forget. This post explores how you can use Fire, Bed and Bone as a basis for lesson planning across the curriculum.
By examining characterisation – both symbolic and literal – exploring themes within each chapter, plus developing creative writing based on the novel’s setting, teachers can help their classes develop an appreciation for this epic historical tale grounded in real-world events from 15th-century England.
Related: For more, check out our planning overview on The Princess’ Blankets here.
The Storyline of Fire, Bed and Bone
Once upon a time, there lived a young foxhound pup named Rufus. He lived with his master, John Danby, a blacksmith in the small village of Doe Bank.
While exploring the countryside one day, Rufus stumbled upon an old abandoned cottage. Inside, he found a book which contained tales of great battles between dragons and knights.
Intrigued by these stories, Rufus returned to the house again and again until, one night, a mysterious figure appeared before him in the darkness of the cottage.
The figure spoke to Rufus about how humans had stolen the power of fire from dragons long ago and used it against them in an attempt to enslave their kind. He revealed that if this powerful fire were unleashed from its resting place beneath the earth, it would cause great destruction and chaos.
The figure also informed Rufus that he was responsible for finding an unlikely champion who could help defeat this power before it became too dangerous for humanity to handle.
Rufus embarked on a journey to find this champion, leading him far away from home and into unfamiliar lands where danger lurked around every corner. Along the way, he encountered strange creatures, some friendly while others only sought harm.
Eventually, after many difficult trials, he discovered his champion…a young girl who possessed courage and loyalty beyond all others he had met along his travels. With her aid, they managed to unearth the source of Firepower which threatened all of humanity’s existence…the Fire Bed & Bone!
With their newfound power, they faced off against evil forces in an epic battle where they ultimately destroyed the remaining troops, which had been manipulating people with their dark magic powers…allowing humanity to be free from tyranny once more.
Rufus’s brave actions were celebrated across all lands as a hero who helped protect society from disaster!
The key themes in Fire, Bed and Bone by Henrietta Branford are:
- Power – The power of fire is at the story’s centre, with humans having stolen it from dragons long ago to enslave their kind. This power needs to be contained before it causes too much destruction.
- Hope – Rufus sets out on a journey to find an unlikely champion who can help defeat this power, giving people hope to succeed against seemingly impossible odds.
- Courage – Along his travels, Rufus meets many strange creatures but ultimately finds a young girl with courage and loyalty beyond all others who help him in his quest.
- Destiny – Rufus is seen as a hero for helping protect humanity from disaster, fulfilling a destiny he wasn’t even aware of.
The main characters in Fire, Bed and Bone by Henrietta Branford are:
- Rufus – A young foxhound pup who discovers an old and abandoned cottage with a book filled with tales of dragons and knights. He journeys to find an unlikely champion who can help defeat the power of fire before it gets out of control.
- John Danby – Rufus’ master and a blacksmith from the small village of Doe Bank. He aids Rupert on his journey, providing guidance and wisdom throughout.
- Mysterious Figure – This figure appears in the darkness of the cottage and reveals to Rupert that he must find an unlikely champion to help defeat the power of fire before it gets out of control.
- Young Girl – The unlikely champion Rupert finds during his travels, she possesses courage and loyalty beyond all others he has met along his travels, ultimately helping him succeed against seemingly impossible odds.
- Examining character development to understand how it can create an engaging narrative.
- Analysing the story’s structure, such as setting description and plot structure, to better understand how these elements work together.
- Exploring the use of dialogue and different literary devices featured in the story to illustrate effective writing techniques.
- Learning how symbolism is used within narratives.
Lesson Plan 1: Examining Character Development
Students can identify and understand character development in Fire, Bed and Bone and apply this knowledge to their writing.
Copy of the book Fire, Bed and Bone for each student
- Introduce the concept of character development by having students read a short passage with several characters included. Have them analyse how the author created distinct personalities through dialogue and physical traits for each character.
- Give students time to read a few chapters of Fire, Bed and Bone, focusing specifically on how various characters are developed throughout the story. Allow discussion within small groups so they can reflect on what they’ve read.
- Have students analyse how different elements contribute to character development in the story and discuss how they could use similar techniques in their writing projects. Conclude by having each student write a brief description of one character from Fire, Bed and Bone using the methods discussed during the lesson and read aloud for class review.
Lesson Plan 2: Analysing Structure
Students will be able to analyse the structure of Fire, Bed and Bone and apply this knowledge to their writing projects.
Copy of the book Fire, Bed and Bone for each student
- Discuss structure when referring to storytelling (elements such as setting description, plot points etc.). Have students brainstorm examples from books or films with vital structural elements – encourage them to consider both positive examples where the structure is well-executed and negative ones demonstrating poor design – then facilitate a discussion around why these stories work/don’t work respectively.
- Next, have students read through several chapters of Fire, Bed and Bone, focusing on structuring elements such as setting description, plot points etc. Allow discussion within small groups so they can reflect on what they’ve read before moving on to the lesson plan’s next step.
- Discuss with students how various structural elements are used within Fire, Bed and Bone, particularly those that appear more than once throughout its course, e.g. recurring themes or motifs & settings. Finally, provide an opportunity for reflection by asking students if there is anything else they noticed about structure when reading from which they could draw inspiration/learn about their own writing projects/stories in future.
The Branford Boase Award website provides an overview of the book Fire, Bed and Bone, detailing its plot and characters. Tes is a teaching resource website with various activities related to the book Fire, Bed and Bone.
The TeachingBooks website also features information about Fire, Bed and Bone, including book reviews and interviews with the author.
Fire, Bed and Bone is a story of a young fox facing discrimination in an industrial town. He learns about loyalty, resilience, bravery, and freedom as he overcomes obstacles. In the end, he saves his people from destruction.
Q: What is Fire, Bed and Bone about?
A: Fire, Bed and Bone is a story of a young fox facing discrimination in an industrial town. He learns about loyalty, resilience, bravery, and freedom as he overcomes obstacles. In the end, he saves his people from destruction.
Q: Who wrote Fire, Bed and Bone?
A: The book was written by Henrietta Branford.
Q: Where can I find resources related to Fire, Bed and Bone?
A: Resources related to Fire, Bed and Bone can be found on the Branford Boase Award website, Tes, or Teaching Books.