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Town is Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith

2018, Kate Greenaway  Prize 2018, 

This is a landscape picture book and thus easy for the parent and child to share.  As usual in picture books the story the pictures tell more of the story. The ratio of text to picture is what we would normally expect for this sort of book.

We also have the normal amount of repetition: when (I wake up) it goes like this, my father is digging coal  … 

There is a mixture of double spreads, single spreads and pages that contain multiple pictures. The double spreads generally give a strong sense of place: the family home, the town, the mine where the protagonist’s father digs and the sea. The single spreads and the pages with multiple pictures are more concerned with activities.

In some ways, however, the text may appeal to a more advanced learner. The protagonist’s observations are quite sophisticated. He thinks about his father’s work and realises that one day it will be his turn.   

The author also provides a note at the end of the text explaining what it was like for children who grew up in mining villages. 


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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 …