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Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

2017, first published 1908  

Anne Shirley has red hair, freckles and a vivid imagination. All three often get her into trouble. She is an orphan and adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.  They’d really wanted a boy.  She gets into and survives a multitude of scrapes. In many ways this is a coming of age story, even though these are normally reserved for older readers.  Anne grows up but does not lose any of her charms.   
We certainly get an insight into life on Prince Edward Island at the start of the 20th century. L M Montgomery writes with the senses and we have a vivid picture of that place.  

The characters are richly drawn. Montgomery writes engagingly. 

The book has many characteristics that would suit the teen reader as well: -a love interest, peer pressure, fashion.  However, it is so much of an earlier era that it isn’t quite sophisticated enough for an older reader. 

It will be a challenge for the upper primary school student. The language register is high. It is 392 pages long, in blocked text  and with an adult font.  

I myself have just read it for the fourth time. It’s not like me to reread books , especially three times.  I read it first when I was nine years old.  My teacher gave it to me to try to wean me of Enid Blyton.  I enjoyed it then but it was quite hard work.  I reread it just before I started my MA in Writing for Children. I’m writing a history of children’s literature, so that has made me read it again. I’ve now bought a boxed-set of all of the Anne stories and that has brought me to it once more.  This time I’m reading for leisure, at the time of the lock down because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is such a delight and a fantastic escape.    


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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 …