Archive for the ‘High Interest low vocabulary’ Category

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 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.

it’s my pond by claire garralon

April 18, 2017 Comments off

my pondit’s my pond by claire garralon. Pub. Book Island, 2016.

This multi layered picture book has some depth and a lot to say about the human condition. It is for everybody but a great junior story with much to discuss and think about.

Yellow duck sees a nice pond and claims it for his own. White duck sees the pond too and negotiates to share it with yellow duck. Then many ducks of different colours take their share and all is tense as each duck guards his/her own piece of pond.

Black duck arrives and  tells them they all look miserable and that ponds should be fun places. They all agree and things are fine.

Suddenly everything changes. To find out what it is you will need to read the book yourself but be warned it is brilliant.

Simple written text and easy on the eye primary coloured illustrations. You will love it.

Johnny Danger2: Lie Another Day by Peter Millett

February 19, 2016 Comments off

lie another dayJohnny Danger2: Lie Another Day by Peter Millett. Pub. Puffin 2016.

I am a big fan of these books as they combine a poo bum wees sense of humour with action and inventiveness. They are silly but not silly at the same time. Reluctant readers will grab them and read them easily particularly boys but not exclusively.

Reluctant boy spy John Dangerfield with his strong willed female off-sider Penelope Pounds are drawn into another crisis by M16 when the President of USA is trying to land on the Moon. During his “One giant leap” speech he drops a horse and cart of considerable velocity, and floats into space. If it was Donald Trump I would be cheering.

Well there is  an aging villain behind it all and he is in the Shady tree Retirement Home and his name is Major Pain and he is a grumpy old codger. My hero and probable fate.

well Major Pain  has invented an undetectable weapon of mass destruction and it involves gas of which methane is a major component. The World is held to ransom. Can Johnny Danger and Penelope Pounds stop him before it is too late. Read it and find out.

Loved the character of Major Pain because he is old school. No online wizardry from him he is a stamp and letter man and this is why he goes undetected. Johnny Danger’s old enemy Dr Disastrous is on hand seeking to become top dog again after a spell in jail, with his ever reliable number 2s, 2A and 2B.

It’s all fun for primary and intermediate kids and there is a code to work out.

Timeline: A Visual History of Our World by Peter Goes.

December 7, 2015 Comments off

timelineTimeline: A Visual History of Our World by Peter Goes. Pub. Gecko Press, 2015.

If you haven’t caught up with this outstanding book yet get to it now. Every school and library in the land should have more than one copy and it would be great for the home that has children.

Why do I say this? Because it is a brief and historically accurate and thought provoking book that is big, easy to read that charts the history of Humankind from the Big Bang and the beginning of life right through  to the 2010’s and the rise of ISIS, Charlie Hebdo and refugees crossing into Europe.

Each Historical period is illustrated in a two page spread with pen and ink drawings suitably coloured  to create realistic effect. Into the illustrations are put interesting and important historical facts, happenings, artistic and social developments. From the dinosaurs to the Industrial Revolution to the Space Race from Beethoven and Mozart to the Beatles and to the first album by AC/DC in 1975.

All of that you say? Yes and I have left heaps out. Get it and see cause it is for everybody.

Treasure Hunters Danger down the Nile by James Patterson

October 1, 2015 Comments off

treasure huntersTreasure Hunters. Danger down the Nile by James Patterson illus Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Random House, 2014.

An easy to read rollicking adventure of a family of four who are seeking the treasure of King Solomon’s mines as well as trying to find their mother and the death or otherwise of their father.

Narrated by Bick one of twins, her brothers Beck and tailspin Tommy and the brains of the group Storm with the photographic memory. They are brave fearless risk takers and have a false uncle after their fortune and the ruthless Guy Dubonnet Merck, a classic villain, chasing them.

Lots of adventure on the Nile and sharp witted conversation. Well written in short chapters with Chris  Grabenstein’s illustrations providing great characterisation and enhancing the plot.

Reluctant boy and girl readers will love this novel, it is madcap. Primary, intermediate and some high school students.