Hello 2018!

We’re nearly two weeks into 2018 and we’ve been keeping busy; on Tuesday, we sent lots of project boxes off to schools to use for this term’s teaching plus they’ll also be receiving this half-term’s issue of our Book Bites newsletter which you can find (and read!) online just hereJan BB

As this our first post of 2018, we thought we’d treat you to TWICE the amount of #FridayReads, particularly if you’d missed our Book Advent over December. If you did- don’t worry! All of the posts and our subsequent book recommendations can be found just here.

Harriet: Two picture books!

  • My Pictures after the storm by Eric Veillé, translated by Daniel Hahn

If you open this book out so that you can see the back cover as well as the front, you will have an idea of how this hilarious little picture book works. On the left of each double spread are some objects randomly positioned, and on the right hand side are depicted the same objects, but changed by some event – a storm for example. Possibly it could have been even more effective if done in flap form so that the reader could guess the outcomes, but even so there is much fun and discussion to be had.

(Gecko Press, £10.99 hardback, ISBN 9781776571048

  • A Bottle of Happiness by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi

The Iranian illustrator of this picture book was initially denied a visa to come to Britain to celebrate his books, until public protests reversed the decision.

It seems incredible, when this is such a joyful, innocent celebration of equality and sharing.

(Tiny Owl Publishing, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9781910328262)

Zoë: Two junior novels-

  • The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens

The long-awaited sequel to The London Eye Mystery is a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Robin Stevens has stayed true to the characters Siobhan Dowd created.

Ted and his sister, Kat, fly to New York with their mother to stay with Aunt Gloria and Salim, their cousin. This mystery takes place some three months after Ted solved the mysterious disappearance of his cousin from the London Eye. Looking at the world differently, Ted is able to see things that many of us don’t. He gives us a new perspective. He is frank, funny and unique.

On their visit to the Guggenheim Museum, where Aunt Gloria is curator, a valuable painting is stolen when a smoke bomb is let off. Even worse, Gloria is charged with the theft. What can the three youngsters do to help?

This is a fabulous read for independent readers. It would also be a great class story for (U)KS2 as it lends itself to discussions about difference and SEN which tie in with PSHE  and SMSC.

(Puffin, £9.99 hardback, ISBN 9780141377025, find it at a Norfolk Library)

  • Mr Stink by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake

This is a very easy-to-read story for independent readers or as a class story. For older children, it would be a good basis for an SMSC debate or discussion on homelessness, difference, death or personal hygiene.

Chloe is friendless and thinks she must be the loneliest person ever, until she meets Mr Stink – a tramp. Mr Stink surprises Chloe by being nice to her – a most unusual experience – and, in turn, she offers him her dad’s shed as a place to stay.

Chloe’s mum is a parody of every ghastly mother you can imagine. Avid readers will have met her type before yet she is still deliciously vile. She bullies her husband, dotes on her younger daughter and appears to loath Chloe, the eldest. Will she get her comeuppance?

Mr Stink teaches Chloe and her family an awful lot about themselves and each other – almost moralistic, as Perrault’s Fairy Tales were – proving the old adage Never judge a book by its cover. In a way, he reminds me of Lassie or The Littlest Hobo, two television programmes I enjoyed as a child, where the dogs (the leads in both cases) teach the people they meet on their travels various lessons in life and how to appreciate what they have. Quentin Blake’s illustrations support the humour of the story beautifully.

(HarperCollins, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780007279067, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Our Friday Reads archive is available here.




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