Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Tractor Factor by Amanda Brandon and Maarten Lenoir



ages 5-7, lower primary school, Brandon Amanda, Lenoir Maarten, emergent reader, non-fiction, transport,  farms, Maverick early readers,  orange band,  

This is a very carefully written book produced by Maverick Books.   It is an orange band book. This means that it is approximately 300-450 words per story with one story per book.
There is a quiz page at the end of each story. The story is mostly decodable at Letters and Sounds Phase 5. Up to five non-decodable words are included.

Scotty and his tractor outwit the fox in this story set at an agricultural show.

There are only a few words on each page and the picture mainly illustrate with very little extra detail in them. The text is ragged right.  The font is plain and quite large. It has simple ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  

The quiz at the end of the book introduces a fun element but also offers the new reader the opportunity to study the text in more detail.  

Sunday, June 19, 2022

William Bee’s Wonderful World of Trucks




In this story William Bee works with trucks at his garage.  He introduces us to all manner of heavy vehicles.   The final pages become even more information rich than the opening ones.  The penultimate page shows all sorts of products you can buy at William’s garage.  One double spread near the end of the book shows facts and figures about the size of two of the vehicles. Another gives us information about types of fuel and how a lorry is structured.

In some ways this is a very conventional picture book. There is only a little text on each page. The pictures are in places integrated with and at other times apart from the text. The pictures all contain supplementary story.  At times these are quite amusing: they often contain details of traffic cones that have become human and a dog who very much remains a dog.

The font is clear and large with simple ‘g’s and ‘a’s . This implies the text may be suitable for the very early reader though some of the language and concepts are quite demanding.     

Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Bear and her Book by Frances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor



A bear gets wanderlust even though she really loves her home.  She carries with her a book – Bear’s Big Book of Being Wise. As she makes her way through the world, she finds all sorts of information to help other animals.

She takes a few risks – including stowing away on a ship. 

Her adventures bring her eventually to a bookshop.  This is her new home.

No doubt this text will interest the preschool child in books.  

In some ways this is a very conventional picture book. There is only a little text on each page. The pictures are in places integrated with and at other times apart from the text. There are seven double spreads.  The pictures all contain supplementary story.

The text rhymes – gently.

The font is clear and large simple ‘g’s but ‘a’s are more difficult.     

The back cover is written partly for the child and partly for the adult who will read the text. Note that the font here is more complex. The simpler and larger font inside the text allows for the possibility of a pre-school child learning to read with the help of this text.   

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny by Philip Ardagh and Jamie Littler


fluent reader, upper primary, Key Stage 2, ages 9-11, Ardagh Philip, Littler Jamie, historical, Victorian era,        

Jane Pinny becomes a maid at one of the very big houses.  She learns her trade well and fits in comfortably with the other servants and the owners. She becomes a detective when a necklace goes missing. This happens because an attempt to hide it went wrong; her employer had attempted to hide it from his wife as what she proposed to wear was actually a copy. The person they are visiting will see this straight away. However, his young son then hides the necklace up the chimney.

Jane’s first person present tense narrative allows the reader to experience the growth with the protagonist.

Philip Ardagh adds footnotes to explain some to the facts about Victorian life.

Jamie Littler’s pictures are at the time endearing and also a little quirky. There are illustrations on almost every page certainly on every double spread. These not only illustrate but are also full of extra interesting and informative detail.

The pages have blackened edges, making it look a little as if the book has also been up the chimney.

Unusually the text is ragged right but it uses a serif font and has difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. The text is 182 pages long.   

This text is produced in association with the National Trust.  

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

  2012   teen, upper secondary   Key Stage 4, ages 14 -17, Dashner   James, science fantasy, thriller This is the second book in the Maz...