Although the main protagonist of Anne Fine’s Flour Babies (opinionated and often rather annoying and careless teenager Simon Martin) really and majorly despises school work, he does nevertheless and grudgingly accept his assignment of having to take home a large bag of flour and then look after and take care of said bag like a baby, like a newborn infant.
“The concept behind these types of educational projects is to on the one hand install a sense of responsibility into as yet often woefully carefree and naively irresponsible teenagers (how it feels to be totally and wholly on the proverbial hook for something, in this case a flour baby) and on the other hand to make both male and female adolescents think and consider twice with regard to sexuality, with regard to especially unprotected intercourse, as parenthood is shown to be, parenthood means continuous commitment, responsible thinking (or at least, it should).”
“While the flour baby project has indeed left Simon wiser and more tolerant, he is and still can be rather a handful for his mother and his teachers, although he did actually and in fact do a much much better job caring for his flour baby than many if not most of his schoolmates, than his school friends did.”
“Simon Martin & his 4C classmates are a class with problems and are perceived as too stupid to participate in the difficult projects for the science fair....more’s the pity for them as the thought of blowing things up is something this group relish.”
Simon even somewhat coming to terms, even being able to fathom a bit why his father abandoned the family, why fatherhood was so traumatic an experience for him and to him that he left, that he ran away.
Flour Babies centers around Simon Martin, his peers in Form 4C and their experiences of a ‘Child Development’ project, where they each take on the responsibility of a small sack of flour for several weeks.
“When the annual school science fair comes round, Mr Cartwright’s class don’t get to work on the Soap Factory, the Maggot Farm or the Exploding Custard Tins. To their intense disgust they get the Flour Babies - sweet little six-pound bags of flour that must be cared for at all times.”
“Now for Simon, who like the rest of his classmates, is asked to keep a diary of his feelings about being one hundred percent responsible for the welfare (the health) of his assigned flour baby, his feelings continuously mature throughout Flour Babies, moving from initial anger and disgust to for the first time actually beginning to understand why his mother is often so stressed out and irritated.”
“And while the ending of Flour Babies is fortunately and appreciatively cautiously optimistic and hopeful, thankfully and realistically, Anne Fine also does not simply and completely have Simon Martin be transformed from somewhat of a slacker, a teenager with often annoying and frustrating attitudes and habits to some kind of a glowingly pure hero.”
“They must be looked after exactly as if they where real babies and this is a task that Simon Martin is not looking forward to one little bit. But as the weeks progress he begins to find himself caring for his bag of flour and starting to question his own life and actions.”
Forced to go to school in a frilly pink dress, Bill discovers one of the worst days in his life is about to begin. Baffled by the way things are just different for girls, Bill falls headlong into trouble.
The day is filled with adventures and events that Bill has never before encountered and is a huge learning curve for him. At school Bill is faced with a variety of obstacles that force him to see the way that girls are treated.
However worst of all, Bill is cast to play Rapunzel in the school play. He finds it difficult as a girl as he sees how they are treated differently at his school and becomes very frustrated at how he is expected to behave in a certain way, as a girl.
The story of Miranda and Daniel are one that many children today, more so than ever, have to deal with because of the divorce of their parents. What made this story so special was the writing was so real.