Mrs T's English Blog

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The Witch’s Children by Ursula Jones

August7

witch's children

Author: Ursula Jones (illustrated by Russel Ayto)

Title: The Witch’s Children

Date of Publication: 2001

 

AR Level: 2.5

 

Summary of book

The story tells of three children who are seen as trouble in their neighbourhood – even the squirrels and the pigeons run away from them. They attempt to help a young girl rescue her boat but in doing this they turn her into a frog and then a handsome prince. In the end the mother witch has to come and save the day.

 

Who should read this book?

KS1 (Early years, year one and year two). The book is a picture book and therefore attracts this age group. It also has simple vocabulary and is easy to understand.

 

Who are the main characters?

Three children, one male two females. All very young, probably aged between the ages of five and ten.

 

What can I learn from this book?

Being a picture book it offers a non-experienced reader the opportunity to retrieve meaning from the pictures. For a more experienced reader it offers an insight into childhood and the mischief that is connected to it.

 

Themes/Issues

Magic, childhood, mischief, helping others, stereotypes, judging people, fantasy and fairytales.

 

What will excite a reader?

The plot will excite as you are constantly wondering – how are they going to get out of this one? They seem to dig themselves holes and there’s only one way they can get out – mummy!

 

What did I think of it?

I found the book quite amusing and although very short, found myself wanting to know the conclusion.

 

You Do! by Kes Gray

August7

You do

Author: Kes Gray (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)

Title: You Do!

Date of Publication: 2003

 

AR Level:Not yet quizzed

 

Summary of book

The story tells of the dialogue between a mother and a daughter, Daisie, the mother constantly telling the daughter off for doing things such as picking her nose, fidgeting or slurping her food. Each time Daisie is told off by her mother she responds with two words: ‘You do!’ Daisie then explains to her mother when and where she has done the crime (i.e. picked her nose) and the mother attempts to justify her actions. Along with the story the illustrations say more, showing the mother doing the things she denies.

 

Who should read it?

Key Stage 1/Lower Key Stage 2. The language of the book is simple and the pages few, so a child of an older age my find it boring or simple. It is the perfect book to be read aloud to a class.

 

Who are the main characters?

Young female, Daisie, maybe five or six and older mother probably in late twenties although I feel the age of the mother is irrelevant.

 

What can I learn from it?

It offers an experienced reader an insight into the relationship between a mother and a daughter, the almost god-like image or idea a child has of a parent. For a non-experienced reader, the illustrations play a major role in telling the story.

 

Themes/Issues

Family, mother/daughter relationship, habits, messiness, general day-to –day life and chores.

 

What will excite a reader?

Depending on the age of the reader the book will excite in different ways. For a younger reader they will find the large, colourful illustrations exciting.

 

What did I think of the book?

When I read the book it was for the purpose of child education rather than my own enjoyment, although it did take me back to a time when I was not much different to Daisie.

Gwenda and the Animals by Tessa Dahl

August7

gwenda and the animals

Author: T. Dahl

Title: Gwenda and the Animals

Date of Publication: 1989

 

AR Level: Not yet quizzed

 Summary of book

A story about a young girl, Gwenda, who goes to the zoo one day and realises that she can talk to animals. She decides to try and help the animals so she craftily stays past closing time and begins to talk to the animals. She soon finds out what is wrong with them and tells the zoo keeper, Bill. Bill changes the way that the zoo is run and the animals are much happier.

Who should read this book?

5-9year olds. The language is very simple and the theme may be slightly too unrealistic for older children who would probably want a more complex plot and resolution.

Who are the main characters?

Young female, probably about 8 or 9.

What can be learnt from this book?

It offers an interesting idea about animals, zoos and animal cruelty that would appeal to many young children.

 Themes/Issues

Animal cruelty, animals, magical powers, relationship between animals and humans, family.

What will excite a reader?

This book has enough excitement and a fluent nature of writing to excite young children. The book may appeal to those who like animals and those that have an interest in fantasy/magical powers.

What did I think of it?

I was not terribly involved in the book from my own perspective but thinking of it from a children’s point of view it illustrates some serious morals i.e. animal cruelty that are very rarely tackled in children’s books.