It’s the last day of term here in Norfolk and there’s a definite spring in our step as the Easter holidays loom; the sun is shining and we’re already beginning to enjoy those longer (and warmer) days. It’s hard to believe that in two weeks time, the start of the summer term will be approaching- where has this year gone, etc etc etc?
At the end of last week, we hosted our termly get-together of our Norwich Fiction Discussion Group here at our ELS base in Norwich. As well as the usual chat about the books we’d given the teachers’ to share with their classes, we also talked about book awards (CKG, Waterstones, Klaus Flugge and UKLA), book magazines focusing on children’s literature (Scoop, Books for Keeps, Carousel), plus the pros and cons of celebrity-authored titles, a rather contentious subject we’ve seen discussed at length recently (an example here). If you hop over to our Fiction Discussion Page, you can read the group’s thoughts on the titles they read during the spring term and- if you’re feeling flush with time- you can find discussion from past meetings in our archive.
Onto our Friday Reads for the week- don’t forget, you’ll find past recommendations here.
Apryl: Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan
I love Elys Dolan’s work so I was really very pleased when this landed in our office, especially with the holidays looming. This book begins with a simple question: how do you think chocolate eggs are made? From here we’re introduced to factory owner, Mr Bunny, and his workforce: a bunch of chickens, all of whom work hard to make him a very rich leporidae indeed- but that’s not enough! Production must increase and soon the chickens are under extreme pressure; how can they ensure that their voices heard and how can they take back power for themselves?
As an adult, I saw this as a perfect allegory for workers’ rights and I’m sure children too will empathise will the poor chickens who work together to enact change and help Mr Bunny see that running a successful business isn’t just about looking after number one. Another brilliant story from Dolan to be enjoyed by young and old alike- isn’t that what all the best books should do?
(Oxford, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780192746207)
Harriet: The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers
This is a beautiful picture book with magical pictures which impressed the young children I read this to.
The story begins in the pictures right from the title page, and with a minimal text the main elements of the story are in the lovely illustrations, with contrasting colour palettes conveying mood and emotions. Visual clues and details create plenty of opportunities for deduction and conversation. A lovely book for summer!
(Frances Lincoln, £12.99 hardback, ISBN 9781847809391)
Zoë: I don’t want curly hair by Laura Ellen Anderson
Having curly hair, I completely understand the frustration of the little girl in the story with brushing, tangles, knots and so forth. Unlike her, I didn’t want straight hair!
It’s a delightful story full of madcap ideas for straightening curly hair. The brilliant illustrations enhance the enjoyment and children will love them. Children will enjoy listening to this fun story. It would be a gentle way to promote class discussion about celebrating ‘Being Me’.
(Bloomsbury, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781408868409, find it at a Norfolk Library)