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Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddelll

Ottoline is an interesting character.  She lives alone though is cared for by servants.  She is accompanied everywhere by Mr Munroe, an almost humanoid pet who has very long light-coloured hair. “wherever they went , Ottoline and Mr Munroe looked out for each other “ (5).  

Chris Riddell offers not just an engaging story but some fascinating pictures. They are mainly line drawings thought the colour purple is added generously throughout.  There are also examples of lists, Ottoline’s own drawings and other pages from her notebook.   

Ottoline’s life is quite sophisticated: she organsizes a fancy dress dinner party, acts as matchmaker between the Purple Fox and the Crimson Vixen, and generally survives well despite or perhaps because of her parents’ absence.  

The book has a respectable spine and is some 175 pages long. The text is ragged right but uses an adult, serif font, with difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. It is double-spaced and is very clear; a sharp black on a very white background.  

Although the illustrations may help a struggling reader they also amuse and add to the story. They are part of the book’s quirkiness. Added to this are the instructions on how to make a Fancy Dress Fortune Teller. There is even a sample one included at the back of the book.       


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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 …