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Paddington’s Finest Hour by Michael Bond

This is a very difficult book to categorize. It has a respectable spine, it is 136 pages long and it uses blocked text, sophisticated language and a serif font.  It charms young children and adults.  There is possibly quite a bit of content that the very young child will not understand.  Those details are there for the adult who will read to the child. Therefore I’ve coined the phrase “Low-High” i.e. content for younger “readers” but demanding higher reading skills.  

Michael Bond carried on writing the Paddington stories right until his death in 2018.  This is the penultimate Paddington collection.  Most people would look upon the Paddington books as classics. The first was written in 1958.   

As with many of the other Paddington books this volume contains several standalone but interconnected stories.  These are presented in short chapters so are ideal for the end of the school day or bedtime stories.  

Perhaps Paddington charms us so much because he makes us look at life more objectively.            


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Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

2017, fluent reader, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, upper primary
Here are some familiar fairy stories though the titles may fool you: Rapunzel becomes The Tower and the Bird, Rumpelstiltskin becomesStraw into Gold, and Cinderella is Roses Around the Palace. We are also offered some rather interesting details about some well-known stories. The mayor of the town with the rats tells us how the children who replaced the lost ones were much more amenable than the ones who were piped away. A young girl has a sliver of the looking-glass that once belonged to a wicked queen.Whilst the girl has chickenpox her grandmother tells her Snow White’s story. It is true she assures her granddaughter. How does she know? Because she is Snow White. Hansel and Gretel tell the story of what they did in their holidays.
There is perhaps an assumption that the reader will be familiar with the original stories. Certainly they are amusing and not just for the young reader.Adults can enjoy them too. 
This is quite a …