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Archive for the ‘High Interest low vocabulary’ Category

The World’s Worst Pets by David Walliams, illus. Adam Stower. Pub. HarperCollins, 2022

May 16, 2022 Comments off

What can I add about David Walliams’ writing that hasn’t been written before except that it is superlative and he has done more to get reluctant kids into reading since J.K Rowling, Paul Jennings and R.L Stine.

This is a book of ten short stories about pets that have gone feral or are locked into a rivalry with another pet that is a catastrophe for the owners. Walliams also knows that kids like burps and farts and there is a knew noise a furp which is a combination of the two.

There is a story about the rivalry between cats and dogs in a musical context, why is there a musical about Cats and not Dogs but it can’t beat the battle for cuteness between a hampster and a gerbil. There is a bunny story, Picasso the horse, a silly snake, a grizzlie bear a supersonic tortoise, a furping goldfish and my favourite the burgling budgie which has a Dickensian theme to it. Loved Magwitch the one eyed magpie.

Adam Stower with his coloured illustrations enhances the characters and the humour.

You can’t go wrong with this novel for kids and I am hoping that David will come up with a book about the Worlds worst politicians. There are plenty in the World today.

Bored by Matt Stanton. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020

April 13, 2022 Comments off

Milo Kim lives in Turtle place which is just off Mars road and he is bored. He is pre teen and has a crush on the girl two houses away named Evie Watson, who ignores him.

On the day that a new kid, who calls himself Frog, moves in next door, Milo finds a $105 on the road in two notes $100 and $5. You and me would pocket the money and say nothing but Milo is honest and wants to know who owns it.

Rocco, a slightly older kid and a bit aggressive decides the money is his without any evidence and tries to bully Milo into giving it to him. Frog comes to his rescue. Frog has his own martial art called Frog-Fu. I like Frog, he is inventive, imaginative, brave and can talk the hind legs off a donkey. Rocco is not amused.

Who does belong to the money? Read this compelling short novel with big easy print and find out for yourself.

Matt Stanton is the author of the Funny Kid series many of which are reviewed on this blog. Reluctant boy readers will love this as will girls.

The 13-Storey Treehouse (Full Colour Edition) by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton. Pub. MacMillan Publishers NZ, 2021

November 18, 2021 Comments off

This is the novel that started the crazy treehouse stories, the most recent one is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. This is a copy worth getting and keeping because of the colour and hardback cover and in 50 years time it will probably be worth big dollars.

It introduces Andy and Terry ( the writer and illustrator of course) and their living quarters in a 13-storey treehouse with a theatre and library, a bowling alley, a man-eating shark tank and a giant catapult amongst other things.

Andy & Terry are under pressure from Big Nose to finish a book and this is the series of preposterous stories that make up this book.

It starts with Terry painting a cat yellow and it turning into a canary and flying away then it graduates into Barky the barking dog show. Don’t barking dogs drive you Mad? Then comes the best story in the book when Terry gets a packet of sea-monkey eggs, germinates them in a bowl of water and one of them turns into a mermaid and eats all the other eggs.

Terry falls in love with the mermaid but there is danger ahead. Read it and find out what happens. All the story threads join up at the end to make a satisfying read.

The stories are designed to attract reluctant readers and their craziness will certainly bring them to the reading table. This is an 8 out of ten book for enjoyability and I am going to keep my copy.

As always Terry Denton provides the illustrations to Andy Griffiths’ crazy text. Don’t miss it.

The 143-Storey treehouse by Andy Griffith, Illus. Terry Denton. Pub. Pan Macmillan, 2021

November 9, 2021 Comments off

If you have never read one of these treehouse books then it is about time you did. They started with a 13 Storey treehouse and this one adds 13 more storeys than the last one and is just as addictive and crazy as the others.

Tery Denton who does the illustrations and Andy Griffiths are a well oiled machine, they know what appeals to reluctant boy readers and they know how boy conversations can drift into all sorts of areas that defy logic. They are fun and absurdity at the same time

The extra 13 storeys include a word-o-matic which knows every word in the world but gets stuck on every scrabble players dream word-Quezjex. Is it a word? if so what is it? read the book and find out. Other storeys include a too Hard basket and a SUPER BIG STUFF storey. Watch Andy get cut in half by a chainsaw then get stapled back together by a superbig stapler.

Andy and terry and friends go on an old fashioned picnic and meet a fire-breathing dragon amongst others and even sup on a fish milkshake. The craziness is boundless and the illustrations just enhance the loonacy.

A great Xmas present for the reluctant reader especially boys.

Fantastic Mr Bean by Mary-Anne Scott, illus. Lisa Allen. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

December 12, 2020 Comments off

A short, easy to read novel wrapped around a school production of Roals Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox.

Lachie and his class are puting on a production of Mr Fox and he desperately wants to play Mr Fox but he doesn’t want to have to say the smulchy terms that Mr Fox calls his wife. Result he gets the part but can’t go through with it.

When the play is being acted out an incident happens that turns lachie into a hero. Read it and see what it is.

Short 56 page novel in large print for the most reluctant of readers. There should be more of this type of novel for children. The story is terrific and lisa Allen’s illustrations enhance the story and the characters.

Code Name Bananas by David Walliams, illus. by Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

November 19, 2020 Comments off

Another great novel of madness, mayhem, laughter and fun from the man the Telegraph have said “Dahl finally has a worthy successor“. No wonder children love it. Just in time for Xmas. Parents should take a look too.

Eric is an 11 year old boy with sticking out ears and glasses who stays with his grandma. He is an orphan and it is about to get worse. His main love is visiting the zoo in Regents Park London where he has developed a friendship with Gertrude the gorilla.

He is also friends with zookeeper Uncle Sid who has tin legs because his real ones were blown off in WW1. Sid has sticking out ears too but is as kind as a person can get especially to animals.

Every night the German bombers fly over London blowing smithereens out of the city during the Blitz in WW2. The animals are terrified but Corporal Batter with his rifle and Sir Frederick Frown with his pompous upper class manners are both ready to eliminate any animal that escapes or proves a problem. Gertrude is seen as a problem and set down to be put down by the nasty Miss Gnarl and her long needle.

Eric and Sid plot to release Gertrude and what an adventure it proves to be. Read it and find out what happens. but first read the ten possible plots of how to effect the escape.

Hilariously funny with lots of true history about WW2.

Keep an Eye on This Koala by Scott Tulloch

August 2, 2018 Comments off

koalaKeep an Eye on This Koala by Scott Tulloch. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

Like Scott Tulloch’s earlier book on the Kiwi reviewed elsewhere on this blog, this too is  a great laugh and easy read for readers 8-12 years old.

Aussies are not noted for their sense of humour but they will need one to see the fun in this story of the dozy koala who believes in bubble-gum trees. Cockatoo doesn’t believe in bubble-gum trees so koala is determined to show him and watch out anyone who is in the way.

Dingo, witchetty grub, cockatoo and drop-bear are in the firing line in this very funny story. Once again the fart becomes a comic weapon but I did wonder how dingo knows that koala tastes like chicken?

Perfect for early readers but don’t forget the earlier book on kiwi.

I Swapped My Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons, illus. by Nathan Reed

January 29, 2018 Comments off

swapped brotherI Swapped My Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons, illus. by Nathan Reed. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

If I had an older brother who called me a loser and a slow coach, gave me wedgies, flicked me behind the ears and generally made my life a misery, I would want to swap him too. Jonny’s brother Ted is like that and it has to change.

Jonny opens his laptop and a web site http://www.siblingswap.com pops up at him. he fills in the details and gets sent a series of candidates to be his substitute brother. Will they be better than the original? maybe not better but certainly different.

Ted disappears and the first brother has a thing about fishfingers which he eats by the hundred. Then when water splashes over him his legs disappear and he grows a fish tail like a merboy. He is a good friend but tricky to have around so another candidate is sent only this one turns out to be a meerkat and the next the ghost of Henry XV111

Yes it gets sillier and sillier but it is a good laugh for reluctant readers especially boys. The cover and title virtually make you pick the book up and the idea is appealing.

It is said you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family but maybe you are better off with who you have. Could it be that way with Jonny and Ted. Read it and find out.

Middle school in appeal but also younger confident readers.

 

Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton.

June 14, 2017 Comments off

funny kid presidentFunny Kid for President by Matt Stanton. Pub. ABC Books imprint HarperCollins, 2017.

If you want to make an impact with primary and intermediate school students in order to get them reading then hitting on the poo, bum, weeze formula is the way to do it. Make the school the setting and introduce a range of characters from bullies to total weirdos and you’ve got it made.

Matt Stanton is the latest to take up the challenge of getting boys in particular to read and he does it so well I think I will read them all myself.

Max is a bit of a clown, he doesn’t think too deeply about things but he is not a dummy. He is Mr average and that covers a lot of kids. He decides to run for class President because it is a first and he sees it as a way to get back at his mean teacher Mr Armstrong who has accused him of pooping on the floor. Max wishes to clear his name as the phantom pooper and to combat his nemesis Abbey Purcell at the same time.

He is assisted in this mission by his best friend, but only on a temporary basis, Hugo, and has an ally that he would rather not have in the form of a duck who keeps chasing him around and biting him on the bottom.

Elections are in the air so compare this election to the alleged serious elections that are to come, you might find that there is not much difference.

Easy to read with a variety of large fonts and splendidly perceptive black and white illustrations. This series is destined for legendary status.

See You When I see You by Rose Lagercrantz, Illus. Eva Eriksson.

May 23, 2017 Comments off

see you whenSee You When I see You by Rose Lagercrantz, Illus. Eva Eriksson. Pub. Gecko Press, 2017.

This is the fifth book in this series about Dani and her best friend Ella. They now live apart as Ella has gone to another town but have half a locket each which they hang around their necks to cement their friendship.

Dani has been sad as her mother was killed in a car crash and her father has been in hospital but is now back with a new girlfriend Sadie.

In this two part story Dani goes to the zoo with her class, gets separated but meets Ella also at the zoo with her class. The two celebrate being together.

The second part has Sadie coming to dinner. Dani had last seen Sadie when they rode Iceland ponies with her friend Ella. Things did not go well and Dani is upset that her father appears to have forgotten her mother.

Beautifully written  with simple words and short sentences for the newly confident reader of 5-7 years. The power of these stories is that they introduce grown up circumstances with child experiences.

Superbly illustrated by Eva Eriksson, my favourite is a drawing of a boy at the zoo walking around like a gorilla. A lovely book.