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A mysterious organisation




Biography

Robert Muchamore (born 26 December 1972) is an English author, most notable for writing the CHERUB and Henderson’s Boys novels.

Your time to shine!


Tips

Use humour.

Find methodology tips to write in English.

Méthode je m’exprime à l’écrit p. 247

Make references to famous spies.


1
After the meeting, James writes about his day in his diary. He knows he agreed not to tell it to anyone but needed to share it in his diary. Imagine his diary entry. (180-200 words)


2
Ten years after, James entered CHERUB School and became a secret agent. He reflects on his experience with a newlyarrived student. Imagine their conversation. (180-200 words)


Cherub Mission 1: The Recruit, Robert Muchamore, 2004.

‘I’ll explain about CHERUB first. You can ask questions afterwards. OK?’

‘I guess.’ [...]

We have two hundred and eighty pupils. Four swimming pools, six indoor tennis courts, an all-weather football field, a gymnasium and a shooting range, to name but a few. We have a school on-site. Classes have ten pupils or fewer. Everyone learns at least two foreign languages. We have a higher proportion of students going on to top universities than any of the leading public schools. How would you feel about living here?’

James shrugged. ‘It’s beautiful, all the gardens and that. I’m not exactly brilliant at school though.’

‘What is the square root of four hundred and forty-one?’

James thought for a few seconds. ‘Twenty-one.’

‘I know some very smart people who wouldn’t be able to pull off that little party trick,’ Mac smiled.

‘Myself included.’

‘I’m good at maths,’ James smiled, embarrassed. ‘But I never get good marks in my other lessons.’ ‘Is that because you’re not clever or because you don’t work hard?’

‘I always get bored and end up messing around.’

‘James, we have a couple of criteria for new residents here. The first is passing our entrance exam. The second, slightly more unusual requirement, is that you agree to be an agent for British Intelligence.’

‘You what?’ James asked, thinking he hadn’t heard right.

‘A spy, James. CHERUB is part of the British Intelligence Service.’

‘But why do you want children to be spies?’

‘Because children can do things adults cannot. Criminals use children all the time. I’ll use a house burglar as an example:

‘Imagine a grown man knocking on an old lady’s door in the middle of the night. Most people would be suspicious. If he asked to come in the lady would say no. If the man said he was sick she’d probably call an ambulance for him, but she still wouldn’t let him in the door.

‘Now imagine the same lady comes to her door and there’s a young boy crying on the doorstep. My daddy’s car crashed up the street. He’s not moving. Please help me. The lady opens the door instantly. The boy’s dad jumps out of hiding, clobbers the old dear over the head and legs it with all the cash under the bed. People are always less suspicious of youngsters. Criminals have used this for years. At CHERUB, we turn the tables and use children to help catch them.’

‘Why pick me?’

‘Because you’re intelligent, physically fit and you have an appetite for trouble.’

‘Isn’t that bad?’ James asked.

‘We need kids who have a thirst for a bit of excitement. The things that get you in to trouble in the outside world are the sort of qualities we look for here.’

‘Sounds pretty cool,’ James said.

[...] ‘We never send you on a mission that could be done by an adult. All missions go to an ethics committee for approval. Everything is explained to you, and you have an absolute right to refuse to do a mission or to give it up at any point.’ [...] Do you have any more questions?’

‘I was wondering what CHERUB stood for?’

‘Interesting one, that. Our first chairman made up the initials. He had a batch of stationery printed. Unfortunately he had a stormy relationship with his wife. She shot him before he told anyone what the initials meant. It was wartime, and you couldn’t waste six thousand sheets of headed notepaper, so CHERUB stuck. If you ever think of anything the initials might stand for, please tell me. It gets quite embarrassing sometimes.’

‘I’m not sure I believe you,’ James said.

‘Maybe you shouldn’t,’ Mac said.‘But why would I lie?’

‘Perhaps knowing the initials would give me a clue about where this place is, or somebody’s name or something.’

‘And you’re trying to convince me you wouldn’t make a good spy.’ James couldn’t help smiling.


Cherub Mission 1: The Recruit, Robert Muchamore, 2004.


Reproduced by permission of Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London imprint, EC4Y 0DZ.

Cherub Mission 1: The Recruit, Robert Muchamore, 2004.
Cherub Mission 1: The Recruit, Robert Muchamore, 2004.
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Questions

a) What is this new school like?

b) How does James feel about it?

c) Why is this school so special?

d) Why are children better than adults?

e) What are James’ qualities according to Mac? Why are these qualities important for a spy?

f) What does the name CHERUB stand for? Explain why.

g) What does the doctor think about James being a spy?

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