It’s a week since the CKG shortlists were announced (see our blog post here) and the shadowing excitement has already begun in our office; we added extra copies of the new titles to our catalogue this morning and copies are on our real life Book Trolley (it does exist!) waiting to be read by our team:
If you’re not sure how CKG shadowing works or you need some info on how to set up a shadowing group for your school, head to this page where you’ll find lots of useful info. Litcham School have begun their shadowing- you can read it about it on their Books and Beyond blog.
This week’s Friday Reads are below and as always, our archive of past reviews is just here.
Apryl: There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins
One day, a mouse in a pretty jazzy jumper suddenly finds there is a bear on his chair. The mouse is ever-so-slightly put out by this especially as- despite his attempts- the bear will NOT remove himself from his seat of choice. What on earth can he do to make this bear leave? He tries everything he can until he comes up with an alternative solution…
Wonderful illustrations accompany this simple but fun story which is great for developing empathy and encouraging discussion; the book was the winner of last year’s Inaugural Amnesty CILIP Honour at the CKG awards and of Collin’s work, chair of the judges, Nicky Parker, said: “The best books are more than plot and character, they give children the empathy and confidence to stand up and shape their world for the better – which children need today, more than ever. It might not be immediately obvious, but thinking about how to persuade a bullying bear to get off your chair can teach children about peaceful protest.”
And, if that’s not enough, the book is being read aloud this weekend by actual real life actor Tom Hardy for CBeebies Bedtime Stories– what an honour! I’ll definitely be tuning in.
(Nosy Crow, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780857633941, find it at a Norfolk Library)
Harriet: Welcome To Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird
Although at first this may feel like a deliberate desire to educate the reader on the refugee situation, we are very quickly caught up with the characters and likeable young hero, and root for them as they undergo the terrible dangers and humiliations of losing not just their homes and normal family life, but almost their identities and dreams. However by the end of the story the outlook is more hopeful, as the family sets off for England; how life will then pan out will depend on us, and how welcoming and understanding we are.
There is most certainly an important message there, but it is brought alive in a most believable and vivid way. For upper KS2/KS3
(Macmillan, £9.99 hardback, ISBN 9781509840496, find it at a Norfolk Library)
Zoë: Rendezvous in Russia by Lauren St John
This fourth adventure for Laura Marlin, along with her friend, Tariq Ali, and husky, Skye, is as enjoyable as the others.
A dismal July in Cornwall means Laura and Tariq cannot spend as much time at the beach as they’d hoped. However watching the filming of ‘The Aristocratic Thief’ nearby proves to be obliging in reducing boredom, especially when Skye leaps into action to save Ana María, as well as the day, in yet another film-set accident.
Director, Brett Avery, insists Skye must feature in the remainder of the film so both Laura and Tariq are offered roles as background artists (extras). The next destination for filming is St Petersburg where the children fly under the supervision of Kay Allbright (screenwriter). Both are excited about visiting the Russian city besides being involved on the film set. Things become intriguing when a playing card is discovered under a pillow – a Joker! – the classic calling card of the Straight As…
Finishing this story was all the more enjoyable having read yesterday that book five on its way! The bond of friendship that has developed between girl, boy and dog is very strong and this theme is an intrinsic part of the stories.
This series is suitable for both boys and girls either for independent reading or as a class book because the two main characters are both plus the storylines are middle-of-the-road. The language is accessible for able readers which also introduces new vocabulary according to the various plots.
(Orion, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781444009453, find it at a Norfolk Library)