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Gloves Off by Louise Reid


Lily and her mother are overweight, her mother possibly morbidly so.  Lily totally lacks confidence at school.  She has no friends and she is bullied.  Then Dad intervenes. He puts Lily on a fitness regime and then introduces her to a gym where she learns to box.    

Lilly becomes fitter and gains more confidence. She finds some friends. Rosie becomes a particularly close friend and they briefly start a lesbian relationship.  But Lily has to fight Rosie in the ring and she wins, but injures her friend. Their friendship cools a little. 

Lily stops going to the gym for a while but does return eventually.  Her friendship with Rosie continues but is not as intense. 

Meanwhile Mum begins to take a few steps to get her own body under control.  

We are left with hope at the end:  Lily seems set to continue with her boxing and her new friendships.  Mum is taking steps to deal with her own problems.  

The whole novel is written in verse.  This makes it quite a quick read but the emotional intensity remains intact.  The first person narrative helps us to feel close to Lily. Mum (Bernadette) also has a few interjections and again uses a first person narrative. 

The novel is 308 pages long in hard back. It uses as simple font for Lily and an adult one for Bernadette.   


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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 …