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Maximum Ride by James Patterson

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

2007, Key Stage 3,  Key Stage 4, ages 10-13, lower secondary,
This is a fast-paced adventure.  The flock is a group of young people who have been genetically modified to have some characteristics of birds. They can and do fly. There are other manipulated part-human species and all of these hybrids have an expiry date.  Meanwhile certain scientists and politicians are aiming to create a perfect world where only the fittest are allowed to survive.
Max must keep her flock safe and together they must save the world.
Most of the time we are in Max’s first person point of view though she does leave the stage occasionally and then we have a third person narrative from the point of view of another significant character. James Patterson has captured Max’s voice very well.  She is an extraordinarily feisty female and also very natural and believable.  
There is some romance but it is not at all slushy.
The pace and the readers’ interest are maintained by delightfully short chapters.            


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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 …