Book of the Week


Book of the week Friday 1st February
Sarah Price

The Knight who wouldn’t Fight by Helen Docherty

To end National Storytelling Week, 'The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight' is a wonderful rhyming tale of Leo, a gentle knight who liked to read more than fight.

When his parents encouraged him to fight, he couldn’t really understand why. One day, they sent him off to tame a dragon armed with a new shield and sword. Luckily, Leo also packed a pile of his favourite stories and headed off on his horse. 

During his trip, he encountered several creatures who wanted to fight him, but in each case, he read them a story featuring a creature just like them which helped Leo make friends with them. When he reached the town where the dragon needed taming, again he managed to get the dragon onside by the promise of a story about dragons. By the end of the book, his parents agreed that he didn’t need to fight after all and was able to read in peace with his new friends.

Like 'Tiddler' by Julia Donaldson, this book shows the power that a story can have and is accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Julia
  • The Knight who wouldn't fight
  • The Library
Book of the Week Friday 25th January
Sarah Price

The tall tales of Tiddler, by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Tiddler is a small fish who tells the most amazing and sometimes unbelievable stories. He makes up bigger and better stories everyday about why he was late for school.

One day, he really ends up in trouble when he gets caught up in a fishing net. After swimming around in the middle of the ocean he overhears a fish telling one of his stories. This leads to another adventure as he traces his story all the way back home via a series of other sea creatures who have all passed on his story and we even find the author herself making a little cameo appearance at the end. 

This is another beautifully written and illustrated book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and it is a joy to read aloud with its gently rhyming text.

It is a lovely starting point to a discussion of the power of storytelling and how the oral tradition of telling stories is as important now as it ever has been.

Next week is National Storytelling Week (Jan 26th – Feb 2nd) and I hope everyone will spend some time telling stories at home and at school. I’d love to hear about ways that you have shared stories at home next week!

 

  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Julia Donaldson
  • The Library
  • Tiddler
Book of the Week Friday 11th January
Sarah Price

Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

John Burningham was an award winning writer and illustrator who sadly passed away last Friday at the age of 82. He was a local author, born in Farnham and was married to another wonderful author of picture books, Helen Oxenbury. His books have been loved by generations of children and so I have chosen one of his titles for the book of the week.

Mr Gumpy’s Outing was published in 1970 and won the Kate Greenaway Prize that year. He had won the same award previously with another book in 1963. 

This book is a gentle tale of Mr Gumpy who lived by the river and decided to go out on his boat. The children asked if they could join him and he said they could as long as they didn’t squabble. Then a host of animals also wanted to come along, and he had a warning for each of them – “yes, but don’t hop about” he said to the bunny, “yes, but don’t flap” he said to the chickens, etc. Of course, the trip reaches an inevitable conclusion when all the children and animals start doing what they were told not to do, but in a very good natured way. At the end, Mr Gumpy still invites them to come again another day.

There are plenty of opportunities for discussion with this book, starting from looking at traits of different animals, wondering what will happen next and whether everyone will even fit in the boat. A deeper discussion could also take place about consequences. The text is very simple and short which makes it suitable for younger children, but it also has enough within the story and illustrations for older children to enjoy.
 

  • Book of the week
  • Fiction
  • Kate Greenaway Prize
Book of the week Friday 7th December
Sarah Price

Look I’m a Scientist

This book was nominated for the SLA Information Book Award 2018 in the age seven and under category. It won both the Judge’s Award and Children’s Choice Award in that age group category and then went on to win the overall Book of the Year across all age groups.

It is packed full of exciting science experiments that don’t need a science lab or special equipment but just use household equipment and things you would find in most kitchens. The slime ingredients, for example, are cornflour, washing up liquid, food colouring and warm water. Even the most exciting looking experiment - a potion, which includes a (slightly messy) chemical reaction only requires vinegar, washing up liquid, food colouring, glitter and baking soda!

What we particularly like about this book is that, as well as making the hands-on practical elements of science very accessible to young children, there are enough questions linked to the senses and scientific observation to start children thinking as a scientist as well. 

The layout of the book works well – there are clear numbered instructions, speech bubbles with scientific ideas, terminology and questions, clear photos of each stage of the process and suggestions of how to take each experiment further.
 

  • Book of the week
  • Childrens Choice Award
  • Non-fiction
  • Science
Book of the Week Friday 30th November
Sarah Price

Will Varjak learn the rest of the Seven Skills on his adventure? Will he find a dog? Will he be able to save his family from the gentleman? 

Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue cat who lives with his family in the Contessa’s house. Like the rest of his family, he was born in this house and has never been outside. He has always been treated a little differently to the rest of his family as his eyes are amber rather than the usual green colour.

When the Contessa dies, a gentleman arrives with two black cats. The Elder Paw asks Varjak to go outside to find a monster that he had heard of, called a dog. Varjak is taught about the Way of Jalal, an ancient and secret martial art for cats. The Elder Paw only knows three of the Seven Skills – Slow-Time, Moving Circles, Shadow-Walking. 

Will Varjak learn the rest of the Seven Skills on his adventure? Will he find a dog? Will he be able to save his family from the gentleman? 

This novel is full of atmosphere and adventure along with really effective and striking illustrations. We are currently reading this in the Year 3 and 4 library lessons and the class is really enjoying it. We can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Last week Miss Clare tweeted the author SF Said (@whatSFSaid) to let him know how much we were enjoying it and he replied with this message for them: 

"Please say hello to them and tell them to keep the Way alive!”
 

  • Book of the week
  • Cats
  • Fiction
  • SF Said
  • The Library
  • Varjak Paw