Sunday, May 29, 2022

Hatch by Jill Atkin and Emma Latham



This tells the story of a family of blackbirds. The parents build a nest.  There are three eggs. The mother and father take it in turns sitting on the eggs and fetching food for the other one.  The eggs hatch. The young birds soon leave the nest and learn to fly.   

The text is aimed at the very early reader and is part of Badger Learning’s Reading Scheme. This is in Blue Band 4. It is published by Franklin Watts.  The books are quite expensive for parents or even schools to buy but I obtained mine form the local library. It may be worth looking there for texts like this one.

Although a parent or teacher may monitor the choice of the child, according to what they know about that child’s reading ability, if the book is picked up from the library or chosen from a book box in the classroom the new reader will have the feeling of making their own choice about what they read.

The story is just nineteen pages long with only a little text on each page. Some pictures are integrated, others are blocked.  The pictures both illustrate and supplement the text.

The text is ragged right. Significant chunks of language are grouped together with extra line breaks separating them.

The font is clear with simple ‘a’s and ‘g’s.   

The end papers include a section on advising the caring adult how to work with the child.   

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Aunt Amelia by Rebecca Cobb



Aunt Amelia comes to look after the children.   She looks formidable – not least of all because she looks like an alligator. Yet she proves to be a lot of fun.  Mum and Dad give her a list of what the children should and shouldn’t do.  Aunt Amelia completely ignores this.  They all have a lot of fun but order is restored before Mum and Dad return.  

The pictures are full of extra activity which provides more story and talking points for the adult and child reading the book together.  In spades. No wonder Rebecca Cobb has been a Waterstones Children’s Picture Book Prize Winner.

The text is verges on being an emergent reader text.   The subject matter is quite high level and the pictures and text are integrated in a quite sophisticated way. The font is plain and so would be easy for an emergent reader to decipher.   

It’s certainly a text that a child and adult can read together.   There are some very rich extra stories in the pictures.

The end papers reflect Aunt Amelia’s dress.  

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories



Although this was compiled in 2018 the stories were first published in various magazines in the early 1950s.  

Noel Streatfeild presents to us an older-fashioned way of living; one we might think would be gentler. Or is it?  

Rationing was still happening and this is evident in many of the stories.  Also surprising that not all of the stories are about well-to-do middle class families although one certainly is and one is even about a princess.

In all of the stories the characters struggle emotionally or financially and in many examples both.

As we might expect from Streatfeild, ballet shoes, skating and shows feature abundantly.

Each story is short and carefully crafted. There are a few line drawings that illustrate the content. The paperback is 174 pages long.

A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

2024   Spendthrift is an innocent tea room by day and by night a den for vampires, where they can enjoy a different sort of tea and indulg...