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Thornhill by Pam Smy

Thornhill by Pam Smy

This is a very tactile book and quite heavy. I t tells two parallel stories. One is in normal prose.  The other  is told in black and white pictures.  
The pictures to some extent work the same way as they do in a picture book for pre-school children; there is more story in the pictures, though here it could be argued it is a supplementary story rather than an extended story. The eye is drawn from left to right, from the top of the page to the bottom.  Double spreads create drama.
The text is formatted raged right and this may suggest it is suitable for an emergent reader.   However, if follows a normal story arc. The font has a serif and the difficult a and g.   
It may also be suitable for the teen reader :  it contains the themes of peer pressure and bullying.  In these two stories adults let the protagonists down.  The prose story includes a first person narrative and reads like a diary. The story in pictures contains a newspaper article.  The reader needs to have a sophisticated level of understanding.
The first person narrative may also make the books suitable for young adults.  There is a high emotional engagement with the girl who writes the diary. There is also a shock element: was Ella burnt alive?  
Above all else, this is a beautiful book and I can quite understand why it was short-listed for the 2018 Greenaway medal. 


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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 …