Reading is a very valuable skill and one I really treasure. I have become even more aware of what a great gift it is since watching my youngest son struggle to get to grips with it quiet as easily as my older children. But get to grips he has – my heart swells with so much pride hearing him read. Now he can just look at (most) words and know what they mean without even having to sound them out! He has got to that beautiful point where he is trying to understand the text in the World around him reading every little sign, badge, box, etc he sees. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to his school for helping him to enable to unleash this great gift and so I am keen to help them to provide this for more children. You may remember my fears about him starting a mainstream school but I need not have worried. The school has recently been rebuilt and the old building knocked down. This has cost millions of pounds and they are now trying to fund raise for things such as to build a new playground and books for the new library.
Why Reviewing books for the School Library makes me Happy
I thought what better way to give back than by trying to provide some books myself by offering to do reviews. I ought to set more of an example to the children, and model reading anyway. I have recently finished reading The Pursuit of Happiness – and why it’s making us Anxious (Ruth Whipman ISBN 978-0-091-959 15-9)) and what I gleamed from that is that different things make different people happy. No-one is, surely, happy all the time, just some people put a front on it. If you truly want to be happy then do what makes you happy. What makes me happy is by trying to do my best for my family. I am very grateful for those who have provided books for me to be able to give to the schools. Please note some of these books will be going to the library at his next school due to the age suitability – and they are also desperate for books. If you can help with providing books for either school they go from preschool up to age 11, and they will be very appreciative. I will, of course, also give them a mention on here.
The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily – Dino Buzzati
This beautiful book begins* by introducing the characters with a paragraph about them – I think this helps the young reader know who they are reading about without getting lost in the story. *This after a contents page. Next the Scene is set before it continues to twelve easy to read chapters, each one with a large illustration on the page to break the book up. I think this helps the young, able reader to take a break from all the words, but giving them a sense of confidence that they are reading a “grown-up” book. There are also fantastic illustrations throughout the book (again not too many though – including 16 in full colour. The book ends with an Index of Illustrations, A Reader’s Companion by Lemony Snicket and A Letter from Dino Buzzati to Frances Lobb.
The story itself is about how after a harsh winter the bears descend from the mountains in search of food and invade the valley below. This action adventure has mentions of things such as blood but is aimed appropriately at the reading ability level – as the bears are faced with fierce opposition from the army of the Grand Duke of Sicily. After many battles, scrapes and dangers, the bears’ reign is established over the land, but their victory comes at a price.
The Story of a Seagull and the Cat who taught her to fly – Luiis Sepulveda
Caught up in an oil spill, a dying seagull scrambles ashore to lay her final egg and lands on a balcony, where she meets Zorba, a big black cat from the port of Hamburg. The cat promises the seagull to look after the egg, not to eat the chick once it’s hatched and – most difficult of all – to teach the baby gull to fly. A moving, uplifting and life-enhancing story with a strong environmental theme. This book has reasonably short chapters and illustrations throughout, as well as being split into two parts.
Arabian Nights Adventures – Retold by Kelley Townley & Illustrated by Anja Gram
Ages 7-11 years
Each book begins with the explanation that many moons ago a great king sentenced his wife to death, but that every night she told him a tale but never finished the ending so that he would let her live to hear it. That these are some of those tales which were told over one thousand and one Arabian nights, after which time he let her go.
The Adventures of Prince Camar and Princess Badoura
This book is divided into 3 chapters of a reasonable length. There is only the odd illustration giving a more grown up feel to the book, but the text is slightly larger which is sure to help enhance the younger reader’s confidence. A story of well-meaning parents not getting it quite right and love. The story really encourages the reader to want to know what happens next. For a more able reader the words are easy enough to read, although they may need some help with pronouncing some of the names.
Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp
This enchanting story of Aladdin’s rags to riches is covered over 5 chapters, with beautiful illustrations and easy to read words. Full of magic and mischief.
Guinare of the Sea
A tale of sorcery, enchantment, magical transformation and adventure. Full of twists and turns in a spellbinding tale of sea kings, sorceress queens and magnificent underwater kingdoms, This story is about a mysterious lady who when brought to the palace of a great sultan does not say a word, but just stares into the sea – all day every day.
Beast Quest Top Trumps
Our boys love Top Trumps and they are very into the Beast Quest books – so we were delighted that Coolabi kindly sent over 33 packs for my son’s class. Top Trumps is easy to play in that in a nutshell whoever has the highest score for whatever is picked (age/power/magic level/fright factor or size) wins all the top cards. The cards are each beautifully illustrated with a character or a weapon – with a Top Trumps File for each ((information about them). There is also a barcode token so that for every 5 packs collected a FREE pack and collector’s wristband can be sent off for.
Scream Street — Tommy Donbavand
As seen on TV, the Scream Street series of books are perfect for that gap in the market of books for children who want a bit more of a thrill but aren’t old enough for real gore – and with humour added in. The books are easy to follow with a beautifully illustrated start explaining who each of the residents are and a map of Scream Street. The books are then broken down into 2 stories each with their own short chapters, which is perfect for children.
Fang of the Vampire
Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass
A favourite classic of mine I am suitably impressed with the magic of this book, with topsy-turvy novelty surprises. I know they say do not judge a book by its cover but even the cover screams out about how delightful the book will be with stunning illustrations designed in and around the looking glass. Inside are many places to explore and find the flaps to reveal hidden surprises, and there is a lovely pop-up page too. The book is such a delight and also uses different styles of text to keep young readers interested.
Peter Rabbit – Best Dad
As seen on TV, Peter Rabbit is based on the works of Beatix Potter. Peter Rabbit – Best Dad is a board book for younger but more advanced readers. With beautiful coloured illustrations on every page and the text in different fonts – with use of capitals, italics and bold to help guide the reader to use different tones/emphasis. The story is about when Peter Rabbit asks about his dad resulting in him finding parts to build a flying machine just like him.
Join The Peter Rabbit Club: www.peterrabbitclub.com
Peter Rabbit THE TALE OF THE GREAT BREAKOUT DVD
Peter Rabbit in the fourth installment of his animated adventures. Featuring over 70 minutes of fun in 6 action packed adventures. Complete with a beautiful 4ft height chart with the characters on. This universal animation is suitable for all. It will appeal to young audiences with its bright colours, catchy songs and action-packed story-lines.
The Tale of the Great Breakout
There’s a giant radish in Mr McGregor’s garden but it is behind a big fence with a bell so the rabbits cannot get to it. They ask the Squirrel Nutkin who is a great acrobat to get it for them – and whilst he manages to get the radish Mr McGregor captures Nutkin and his family. Peter Rabbit then sacrifices the giant radish by using it in a catapult to knock down the key to let them out the cage. But whilst doing this it wakes the cat and alerts Mr McGregor. Nutkin then paints a hazelnut to look like a radish for them.
The Tale of the Mystery Plum Thief
This time Peter Rabbit and friends are in Mr McGregor’s garden after his plum. As Mr Mc Gregor nearly catches Peter Rabbit, Peter asks his mum what advice she would give to his friend who is trying to get the plum. She tells Peter Rabbit that she would tell his “friend” not to do something so dangerous. They ignore her and go to take the plum anyway. But when they get there the plum is gone. They are very impressed with the Plum thief and are curious to find “him.”
Mr Tod (the fox) then catches Peter Rabbit, Lily and Benjamin but the Plum thief saves them. The rabbits then decide to call it a day and go home, finding the plum thief the next day. Peter confesses it was really him who was after the plum before his mum gives him plum pie. Then he thinks about what he admired about the Plum thief and sees that his mum’s cardigan is torn and that it was her!
The Tale of Benjamin’s Strawberry Raid
Benjamin makes a plan to get the strawberries from Mr McGregor’s garden. Peter Rabbit says that as it was Benjamin’s plan then he should be leader. What could go wrong? Like him having the map upside-down! When things go wrong Benjamin is upset that he isn’t a good leader, but Peter Rabbit makes him remember that he should never give up! Then Benjamin has great ideas on how to free Peter Rabbit and get the strawberries.
Other episodes are
- The Tale of the Downhill Escape
- The Tale of the Unguarded Garden
- The Tale of the Cat and the Rat
ONE LUCKY READER CAN ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER TO WIN A
PETER RABBIT DVD
Just tell me in 10 words or more – what your favourite children’s book is and why? (or that of a child you know)
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I received the above books free of charge in order to donate them to the schools’ libraries. I also received the DVD to keep for my family and a DVD prize for the giveaway will be sent straight to the winner. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank you most kindly for everyone who has donated.