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Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans

Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans

2017
This is a proper book.It has a thick spine.It is 243 pages long. The text is blocked . It uses a serif font and has difficult ‘a’sand ‘g’s. However, it does make a few concessions to the fairly newreader: it has short chapters,it uses double spacing and includes some different fonts for different types of text. The chapters are short.  Fidge is thrown into a bizarre fantasy world with her awful cousin Graham shortly after her sister Minnie has been run over. Thus Lissa Evans cleverly gets the adults out of the way. Fidge grows in the other world: she takes responsibility for Minnie’s accident. We have a recognisable story arc: Fidge crosses the threshold, refuses the call and faces trials and enemies.  The novel may remind us of other stories. Fidge and Graham are perhaps like Mary and Colin in Secret Garden. It may also remind us of the Alice book; toys come to life and there is some nonsense verse.  Pace is maintained through the short chapters, a quic…
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The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

2000,  The first person narrative by a young girl, Dolphin, features her manic depressive mother Marigold, nicknamed "the illustrated mum" because of her many tattoos. Dolphin and her older sister Star have to be a mother to their own mother. The mother soon becomes a burden to the two girls. Not only is she bi-polar, but she doesn’t always come home at night. The girls confront a severe mental illness and have to be in charge of their own world. We have here a first person narrative from a very young person. First person narratives are normally for teens and young adults. Even the younger child is more grown up than the mother. As Marigold gets yet another tattoo, we get a real sense of her being the child and of narrator Dolphin being the adult. Star rejects the parenting role when she and Dolphin argue about her weekend away. Finally Marigold paints her body all over with white paint in order to bury the tattoos and become a good …

I am Brown by Ashok Banker (writer) Sandhya Prabhat (illustrator)

The B on Your Thumb: 60 Poems to Boost Reading and Spelling by Colette Hillier (writer) Tor Freeman (illustrator)

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History by Kate Pankhurst

2018

This book introduces the young reader to fourteen women who have made their mark on the world: Boudicca, Harriet Tubman, Flora Drummond, Qui Jin, Noor Inayat Khan, Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, Valentina Tereshkova, Josephine Baker,Pocahonta, Hatshepsut, Mary Wollstonecraft,Mart Shelley,Sayyid al Hurra and Ada Lovelace. Each woman has a double spread to herself though mother and daughter Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley share a spread.A final double spread displays a series of book spines, one for each woman featured.The sub-title to each book is a reminder of that woman’s main characteristics.

Each double spread is filled with snippets of factual material.The text is enlightened with quirky two-dimensional drawings and some extra extraordinary facts. Each page is very busy and the reader may not wish to read in a linear fashion.

There are a variety of fonts – mainly serif and with difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. Some chunk…

Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz

Secrets of the Fearless by Elizabeth Laird

There is a little romance and there is a marriage near the end of this story but this is very understated. This is mainly an adventure on the high seas and includes espionage, danger and risk-taking. It contains much of the drama that we would expect to see in works by Dickens or Shakespeare. We even have a girl dressed up as a man. There is plenty of pace in this novel. The chapters are relatively short and each contains several exciting plot points. This is a slight departure for Elizabeth Laird. Much of her work is set in different cultures in the modern world. This story however takes place in a past that is just as exotic in another way, and we have details about press gangs, battles with the French and the Empress Josephine. Laird demonstrates here that she is an excellent story-teller.  It is a long read – 351 pages of a point 12 point serif font with difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. The text is blocked.The book has a robust spine.