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The B on Your Thumb: 60 Poems to Boost Reading and Spelling by Colette Hillier (writer) Tor Freeman (illustrator)


As the title suggests this book contains sixty poems. They are spread over eighty pages.  The text is highly illustrated. The illustrations entertain as does the text which is also informative and designed to aid with spelling and reading.

Many of the poems are about how letters and combinations of letters produce sounds.  
So we have:
·         S and H as in SHOUT
·         EE as inn SEES and TEETH
·         OU as in OUT
·         OI as in POINT
·         QU as in QUEUE and QUESTION
·         AI as in PAIR and RAIN
·         CH as in CHOCOLATE
·         A as in HEAD
·         OA as in GOAT
·         OO as in MOON
·         OW as in BROWN
·         AR as in CAR
·         IOUS as in FURIOUS
·         OUGH as in COUGH (Ah – do we need a little care with that one?)
·         ION as in STATION
·         ING as in THING
·         EAR as in WEAR (but also in EAR)
·         OUL as in SHOULD
·         Ea as in EAT
·         AY as in WAY

It also contains several pages about silent letters. It makes a secret number of “TEN” (OFTEN) and finds several secret animals e.g. HEN as in WHEN. It discusses the magic “e”. It also tackles some words that are often difficult to spell such as NECESSARY. There is a demonstration of to the “I before E except after C” rule.  There are some pages about homophones.

At the end of the book are details of further activities that could reinforce the knowledge and understanding of our quite demand English spelling system. There are suggestions at the beginning of how to use the book. Both sets of ideas are presented in a child-friendly way but may be actually dressed to a supportive adult.

Is this an educational book or a book to entertain children? It manages to be both in fact.   


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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 …