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Ginger

Charlotte Voake, Author, Charlotte Voake, Illustrator

Age 3-7 years

This book is all about a cat called Ginger. Ginger lives a very comfortable life until the arrival of a newcomer, a grey kitten. This means that Ginger's days of ease and tranquillity are over. Now he has to share his bed and his meals. Ginger does not like this at all and runs away. The little girls brings Ginger home and presents the kitten with a plate of food and a bed (a cardboard box), of his very own. Ginger begins to realise that having another cat in the house is not such a bad thing, especially if he gets to share the kitten's bed - a cardboard box!!

This is a timeless classic which deals with the arrival of a new family member, human or animal and the positive things it can bring.

If you enjoy this book there is also ‘Ginger Finds a Home’ too, an equally good book.

Mrs Anderson

 


 

The Girl of Ink and Stars  

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Suitable for readers age 10+ 

Made for those who love adventure and packed to the brim with detail (including the beautiful map drawings on each page), The Girl of Ink and Stars makes the reader feel as if it is them who is crossing uncharted territory on a heroic voyage.  I would recommend to anyone who likes fast paced fantasy, mythology and stories within stories!

The book centres around a young girl named Isabella, who lives in a small village on the isolated island of Joya. When her best friend, the Governor's daughter, goes missing, she joins the treacherous search party to help find her - disguised as a boy! As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the safety of her homes is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Destiny calls Isabella to save the island!

Miss Umpleby

 


The Firework-Maker's Daughter

Phillip Pullman, Author - Nick Harris, Illustrator

A stunningly illustrated short novel for age 9+.

This story has everything - adventure, danger, romance, humour, a happy ending, a moral and lovable characters too.

The Eastern oriental setting is the exotic backdrop for magic and tradition which lends a fantasy feel to the story. The plot, however, is one which all children can enjoy - a quest and a dilemma whereby the main character (Lila) endangers her own life by undertaking a perilous journey to face terrifying beasts for the sake of her ambition and curiosity. As a result, she becomes a much better Firework Maker but above all - a much better daughter and friend. 

When you pick up the book, remember to take your time to read the story, think about its message and marvel at the beautifully decorated pages throughout.

Mrs Robinson

 


 

The Dot

Peter H. Reynolds

For ages 5 and up
Candlewick Press, 2003   ISBN: 978-0763619619

Vashti is cross with herself because she has not managed to produce anything in her art class. Vashti is sure that she “just can’t draw” and she does not even want to try. The teacher suggests that she should “make a mark and see where it takes you.”  Vashti draws a dot, signs her work, and quits.

To Vashti’s amazement her teacher frames the single dot picture. She cannot help thinking that she could improve on this rather sad little effort. So she gets out paper and paints and she begins to create dots of all kinds. Soon Vashti’s dots are being greatly admired at the school art show where Vashti meets a fan who wishes he could draw too. With a smile Vashti sets about helping him find his way.

In this delightfully simple story Peter H. Reynolds helps his audience see that its takes confidence to take that first step towards creative self expression. After all if you don’t try, you will never find out what you can do.

Mrs Clayton

 


 

Flat Stanley

 Jeff Brown

Age 6+

Flat Stanley was one of my all-time favourite story books when I was at primary school.  Mrs Fell.

Stanley Lambchop awakes one morning to find that he has been squashed flat by the notice board hanging above his bed! 

Despite being only half an inch thick he is perfectly healthy.  Although it feels a bit strange, Stanley finds that being a flat person can be quite handy.  He can slip under doors, slide between the floorboards to rescue Mrs Lambchop’s ring, fit into an envelope and be posted to America and be flown like a kite!  Stanley’s adventures also allow him to help catch two local thieves who have escaped capture for a long time.  

Stanley thinks up a clever plan where he gets pinned to an empty picture frame on the wall at the gallery. When the thieves arrive, Stanley shouts until the police come and arrest them.  Stanley becomes the local hero!

Mrs Fell

 


 

Dogger

Shirley Hughes

Dave has a very special toy called Dogger. He is worn and threadbare, one ear points up and the other down but he is very loved. Dogger goes everywhere with Dave.

One day Dave loses Dogger and this is the story of how the whole of Dave’s family becomes involved in looking for him.

This is a lovely warm- hearted book which children will immediately associate with, especially if they have a favourite toy. It has beautiful, detailed illustrations in Shirley Hughes’ distinctive style.

It has a strong emphasis on the importance of family and of kindness.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Mrs Watson

 


 

The Christmasaurus

Tom Fletcher

Christmas, flying dinosaurs and Santa - what more could you want from a story? 

"Funny," "great illustrations," "a range of emotions," "descriptive language that creates vivid pictures," and "a twist in the tale" are comments from my class who have just read it. It's not just a read for Christmas time - enjoy it at anytime of the year!

Age range: 7+

Mrs Keel


 

Man on the Moon

Simon Bartram

Everyone knows there are no such thing as aliens…right?

I love sharing this book as the illustrations are beautiful and unlike any children's story I have come across before; detailed and realistic, they hold wonderful discussion points to have with children.

The story tells the narrative of Bob and his daily life. Bob's job is to maintain the moon and he goes about it dutifully and enthusiastically. As the story progresses, the humorous narrative tells the reader that of course there are no aliens and that Bob is a Moon expert, but the illustrations clearly show aliens on each page - stealing his cake, hiding in a crater, in the bath tub.

My class whole heartedly loved proving Bob (and me!) wrong and pointing out all the illustrations on each page, laughing in delight when they saw a 'cheeky alien' hiding from Bob.

Mrs Burnell

 


 

Each Peach Pear Plum 

Allan Ahlberg

Age 0-4+

Each Peach Pear Plum introduces characters from well-known nursery stories, such as the Three Bears, Mother Hubbard and Tom Thumb, and encourages children to participate and to find the characters hidden in the pictures. The text, with its strong rhyme and rhythm, is perfect to read aloud to very young children, while the game of 'I Spy' keeps children enthralled.

When I think back to my child hood this book springs to mind. I loved finding all the characters and joining in with the rhyme. 

Mrs Osman

 


 

The Harry Potter Series in review.

J.K.Rowling 

Having allowed the book and film series to pass me by, during the many years of hype, I finally decided that it was high time that I took the plunge into the 'wizarding world' of the Harry Potter series.

With my eldest child becoming more and more obsessed with the harrowing tales of the boy wizard, and his frightful encounters with 'He who shall not be named', I thought that I should engage in some healthy conversation about the books rather than continually asking, "what did you do at school today?". 

What would follow, once I picked up the first book, was a complete surprise to me. I became a 'Potterhead'. I can't quite say that it was because I see myself in the wildly misunderstood Severus Snape, or that Harry, Ron and Hermione don't annoy me at times, with their ridiculous choices that had me yelling at the book, "Why would you do that?" It is because of the craft of one J.K. Rowling. Her attention to even the smallest of details in her description, the way she creates vivid images of characters and settings and the plot twists and turns that had me wide eyed at many a late hour. The outrageous vocabulary, that I couldn't even conjure up, the wildly different themes and undertones that are woven throughout and the darkness of the final books - what more can I say?  I was well and truly hooked; from the turn of the first page in the Philosopher's Stone, to the closing of the cover of the 'Deathly Hallows.

I was devastated to come to the end. If like me, you are late to the Potter party, then do not delay anymore -  pick up these books, read them, enjoy them and more importantly....avoid the films for now.

Mr Close


 

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

Frank Cottrell Boyce

The Blythes are a big, warm, lively family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.

Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik.

As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It's only Prez who thinks otherwise.

But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life - like a TV remote that fast-forwards people: 'Anyone can do it, it's just that people don't read the instructions properly'; and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children's party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it – and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself.

It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever . . .

Mr Osborne

 


 

Awful Auntie

David Walliams                                    

Age: 8 -12 years                                                           

Aunt Alberta is the most awful aunt who ever lived. She is a pipe-smoking, monocle-wearing monster with steel toe-capped boots on her feet and a fearsome giant owl on her arm. Little Stella Saxby is the only person standing between Aunt Alberta and ownership of Saxby Hall - which means Stella is in serious trouble.

As the story unfolds, Aunt Alberta’s plans to get rid of Stella and become the new Lady Saxby begin to be increasingly evil and desperate.  Stella must find a way to stop her aunt and her fearsome owl – but how? Luckily for Stella, she gets help from a spooky source!

This is a great story with lots of plots twists. The children that I have read this to have thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the tricks that Stella and her ally Soot play on Aunt Alberta.

Mr Adamson


 

The Butterfly Lion 

Michael Morpurgo

Emotional, gripping and heart-warming, the Butterfly Lion is a real page-turner, and another fantastic story from Michael Morpurgo, the Multi-award winning author and much loved children’s author.

The story is about the inspiring magic of a white lion that brings together friendship and hope for a lonely ten year old boy, Bertie, who recently ran away from his boarding school. On his journey, he meets a kind, old lady who tells him of how another Bertie, a little boy from a long time before, saved an orphan lion cub near his home in South African Savanna.

She tells him the tales of Bertie, who, each day, loved going to the edge of his compound to look at all of the different lions and other fascinating animals that surrounded him.

One day, Bertie sees a different lion, a white lion. They become best friends and build up a special relationship full of joy, love and laughter. After years of building up extraordinary memories that will last a life time, the white lion cub is sold to the circus. But how will Bertie react?

The story continues to follow Bertie’s life from that moment on. He has to show much resilience, endurance and hope right until the end of his remarkable journey.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and, if you haven’t already, you should definitely consider giving this story a read.

Age range: 8+

Mr Wheeler

 


 

The Roman Beanfeast 

Gillian Cross

This is a fun read for children aged 7-10 . This amusing story is written from the perspective of Davey, a Primary schoolboy whose Dad is abroad on business and whose Mum is overwrought by looking after their mischievous twin toddlers. Their chaotic home life creates tricky situations for poor Davey, such as opening up his packed lunch on a school trip to find that the bag his Mum has given him is actually a bag of clothes for the jumble sale! This makes him a laughing stock when his bossy neighbour, Molly, deliberately draws everyone's attention to the error.

In total contrast to Davey, Molly is organised, perfectly in control and always seems to excel at everything she does. She is determined to win the school competition on the theme of The Romans. Davey really wants to win too and comes up with some good ideas but soon realises that Molly always steals them and then produces something  much better and more quickly than he can. Davey goes from disaster to disaster with his attempts, but will Davey manage to keep his final idea a secret from Molly and triumph in the end?

Read this humorous story to find out if all ends well for Davey. 

Mrs Bennie


 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C. S. Lewis

What could be better than being transported into another world - the mystical world of Narnia - where it is always winter but never Christmas, where fawns talk with visitors and share their words of wisdom, before being bellowed at by an evil queen?

This is what happened to four children who had been evacuated to the countryside during the war and went off to play in the bedroom of an old house.They find a magical wardrobe and soon find themselves in a world of enchantment, adventure and danger.  However, help is on hand from the Great Lion Aslan who befriends them along their journey - will he be able to save them from the perils which lie ahead?

I love the wit and wisdom of C.S.Lewis. His writing opens up the world of adventure and escapism and yet running alongside the story line is a deeper life lesson or moral to the story.  Many have made the parallel between Aslan and Jesus. 

Read the story and see what you think. 

If you love this one, there's a series  of seven titles within the 'Chronicles of Narnia' to engage older children and adults alike.

Miss Rushworth

 


Here Comes The Crocodile

Kathryn White

This is a fun book to read aloud as it is all in rhyme. It has beautiful, brightly coloured, bold illustrations to bring the story to life and lots of opportunities for using different voices,

The story is about a hungry crocodile who comes in search of his dinner only to find that the animals all have a reason why he shouldn't eat them, such as the flamingos claiming that they are made of sweet pink candyfloss which will ruin his teeth.

The crocodile is taken in by their stories but he gets so hungry that he ends up crying big crocodile tears and calling, "I WANT MY MUMMY!" which the children think is hilarious. The animals feel sorry for him and make friends with him.

But lurking behind a tree is a tiger... 

Mrs Howard