Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Tractor Factor by Amanda Brandon and Maarten Lenoir



ages 5-7, lower primary school, Brandon Amanda, Lenoir Maarten, emergent reader, non-fiction, transport,  farms, Maverick early readers,  orange band,  

This is a very carefully written book produced by Maverick Books.   It is an orange band book. This means that it is approximately 300-450 words per story with one story per book.
There is a quiz page at the end of each story. The story is mostly decodable at Letters and Sounds Phase 5. Up to five non-decodable words are included.

Scotty and his tractor outwit the fox in this story set at an agricultural show.

There are only a few words on each page and the picture mainly illustrate with very little extra detail in them. The text is ragged right.  The font is plain and quite large. It has simple ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  

The quiz at the end of the book introduces a fun element but also offers the new reader the opportunity to study the text in more detail.  

Sunday, June 19, 2022

William Bee’s Wonderful World of Trucks




In this story William Bee works with trucks at his garage.  He introduces us to all manner of heavy vehicles.   The final pages become even more information rich than the opening ones.  The penultimate page shows all sorts of products you can buy at William’s garage.  One double spread near the end of the book shows facts and figures about the size of two of the vehicles. Another gives us information about types of fuel and how a lorry is structured.

In some ways this is a very conventional picture book. There is only a little text on each page. The pictures are in places integrated with and at other times apart from the text. The pictures all contain supplementary story.  At times these are quite amusing: they often contain details of traffic cones that have become human and a dog who very much remains a dog.

The font is clear and large with simple ‘g’s and ‘a’s . This implies the text may be suitable for the very early reader though some of the language and concepts are quite demanding.     

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Bear and her Book by Frances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor



A bear gets wanderlust even though she really loves her home.  She carries with her a book – Bear’s Big Book of Being Wise. As she makes her way through the world, she finds all sorts of information to help other animals.

She takes a few risks – including stowing away on a ship. 

Her adventures bring her eventually to a bookshop.  This is her new home.

No doubt this text will interest the preschool child in books.  

In some ways this is a very conventional picture book. There is only a little text on each page. The pictures are in places integrated with and at other times apart from the text. There are seven double spreads.  The pictures all contain supplementary story.

The text rhymes – gently.

The font is clear and large simple ‘g’s but ‘a’s are more difficult.     

The back cover is written partly for the child and partly for the adult who will read the text. Note that the font here is more complex. The simpler and larger font inside the text allows for the possibility of a pre-school child learning to read with the help of this text.   

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny by Philip Ardagh and Jamie Littler


fluent reader, upper primary, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, Ardagh Philip, Littler Jamie, historical, Victorian era,        

Jane Pinny becomes a maid at one of the very big houses.  She learns her trade well and fits in comfortably with the other servants and the owners. She becomes a detective when a necklace goes missing. This happens because an attempt to hide it went wrong; her employer had attempted to hide it from his wife as what she proposed to wear was actually a copy. The person they are visiting will see this straight away. However, his young son then hides the necklace up the chimney.

Jane’s first person present tense narrative allows the reader to experience the growth with the protagonist.

Philip Ardagh adds footnotes to explain some to the facts about Victorian life.

Jamie Littler’s pictures are at the time endearing and also a little quirky. There are illustrations on almost every page certainly on every double spread. These not only illustrate but are also full of extra interesting and informative detail.

The pages have blackened edges, making it look a little as if the book has also been up the chimney.

Unusually the text is ragged right but it uses a serif font and has difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. The text is 182 pages long.   

This text is produced in association with the National Trust.  

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hatch by Jill Atkin and Emma Latham



This tells the story of a family of blackbirds. The parents build a nest.  There are three eggs. The mother and father take it in turns sitting on the eggs and fetching food for the other one.  The eggs hatch. The young birds soon leave the nest and learn to fly.   

The text is aimed at the very early reader and is part of Badger Learning’s Reading Scheme. This is in Blue Band 4. It is published by Franklin Watts.  The books are quite expensive for parents or even schools to buy but I obtained mine form the local library. It may be worth looking there for texts like this one.

Although a parent or teacher may monitor the choice of the child, according to what they know about that child’s reading ability, if the book is picked up from the library or chosen from a book box in the classroom the new reader will have the feeling of making their own choice about what they read.

The story is just nineteen pages long with only a little text on each page. Some pictures are integrated, others are blocked.  The pictures both illustrate and supplement the text.

The text is ragged right. Significant chunks of language are grouped together with extra line breaks separating them.

The font is clear with simple ‘a’s and ‘g’s.   

The end papers include a section on advising the caring adult how to work with the child.   

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Aunt Amelia by Rebecca Cobb



Aunt Amelia comes to look after the children.   She looks formidable – not least of all because she looks like an alligator. Yet she proves to be a lot of fun.  Mum and Dad give her a list of what the children should and shouldn’t do.  Aunt Amelia completely ignores this.  They all have a lot of fun but order is restored before Mum and Dad return.  

The pictures are full of extra activity which provides more story and talking points for the adult and child reading the book together.  In spades. No wonder Rebecca Cobb has been a Waterstones Children’s Picture Book Prize Winner.

The text is verges on being an emergent reader text.   The subject matter is quite high level and the pictures and text are integrated in a quite sophisticated way. The font is plain and so would be easy for an emergent reader to decipher.   

It’s certainly a text that a child and adult can read together.   There are some very rich extra stories in the pictures.

The end papers reflect Aunt Amelia’s dress.  

The Tractor Factor by Amanda Brandon and Maarten Lenoir

  2020   ages 5-7, lower primary school, Brandon Amanda, Lenoir Maarten, emergent reader, non-fiction, transport,   farms, Maverick e...