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Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz

2015, first published 2003  

This is the fourth of the Alex Rider books. Alex is on holiday in France with his not-quite-girlfriend and family.  He encounters contract killer Yassen Gregorovich whom he has met before. So when an explosion happens at the holiday home Alex assumes it is caused by Yassen trying to kill him.  In fact it is aimed at Sabine’s father who has discovered some secrets about pop star Damian Gray. 

Damian Gray has a reputation for being generous and has donated millions to charity. Yet Gray has a disturbing agenda; he wishes to kill off the populations of countries that produce drugs.  He claims he is being cruel to be kind. 

In this novel Rider acts alone and MI6 becomes involved too late. 

Sabine and her family relocate to the US at the end of the novel and as Gregorovich dies he tells Rider something awful about his father’s past.    

We read a little more about Jack in this novel than in the previous ones. 

The stakes have been raised yet again.  Alex seems to be growing older with his reader.    

The book is 331 pages long, with blocked text and an adult but simple font. The chapters are quite long.


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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 …