Friday, September 16, 2022

Zoo Girl by Rebecca Elliott



The protagonist whose name we never learn is an orphan. She goes with the other children on a visit to the zoo. She doesn’t get on well with the others and is often alone.  She is fascinated by the animals who befriend her and manages to get left behind. Two of the zoo keepers find her. She is returned to the orphanage. Later the two zookeepers who found her adopt her.      

There are very few words in this book. The story is told mainly though the pictures.

The two main themes are isolation and adoption. The main character feels more at home with the animals than with her peers. Readers, including the caring adult who shares the book with the child, will have to suspend their disbelief. It’s probably not wise for a child to cuddle up to tigers.

Some of the pictures from the story are repeated in the end-papers. They show the protagonist playing with the animal, perhaps emphasising that this little girl is more comfortable with animals than with other humans.

She is not treated unkindly at the orphanage. The adult there looks kind.  

The few words in this text are in a lager font though do have difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Amara and the bats by Emma Reynolds





Amara becomes interested in bats when one is trapped in the attic. The animal rescue comes and helps the bat.  She then moves house and visits a local park where the bat population has diminished because more and more land is being built upon.  She and her school friends raise money in order to buy bat nesting-boxes for the park. And the bats return.

The text is somewhat denser and more sophisticated than normal for the preschool child.  However, the pictures both illustrate and tell more story.

There is a lot of information about bats throughout the text and in a really dense section at the end. The caring adult who reads with the child has their work cut out.

The text uses mainly an adult serif font with difficult ‘a’s but with an easier ‘g’. Some parts of the text use a simple font, without a serif and with simple ‘a’s and ‘g’s.  These are labels on pictures and in some of the material at the end of the book. The text is ragged right throughout apart from in the back blurb and the author bio.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Never Forget You by Jamila Gavin



Dodo, Gwen, Noor and Vera meet at boarding school.  Just before the outbreak of World War II.   Dodo’s parents live in Germany and are Nazi sympathisers. Gwen acts as narrator and is at school because her parents live in India. Noor is from India, daughter to a Sufi philosopher and sees fairies.  Vera is Jewish.  Her parents and younger brother have been seized by the Nazis. She lives with her aunt and uncle in Paris.    

Noor’s story is partly true.  The other characters are fictional.

Dodo dies when she becomes involved in the rescue form Dunkirk. She has been working as a spy, looking into the work of Nazi sympathisers.

Gwen tells us very little about her work but it is top secret and involves maps.      

Noor becomes a member of SOE – Special Operations Executive. She works with the Resistance in France but is captured and executed.

Vera works for the Resistance in Paris and is very involved in forging documents in order to allow Jews to escape the Nazis.

There is some romance for all four girls and an upbeat ending for Gwen and Vera.   

This is a very long read – 500 pages of blocked text. There is a short note at the end about Noor Inayat Khan      

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The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

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