I'm so pleased to have found this book. A story in a familiar setting, traditional and inventive, drawing on history and geography and looking at aspe...moreI'm so pleased to have found this book. A story in a familiar setting, traditional and inventive, drawing on history and geography and looking at aspects of time, travel and transport that can be discussed in science classes as well as teaching about immigration and the positive experience of cultures melting together- this book is perfect!
It's an English translation of the oral recollection (in Hindi) of an Indian artist, Bhajju Shyam's experience of coming to London.
Shyam describes flying on a plane, the underground, the sights sounds and feelings of being a stranger in the city. Unable to speak English he captures each of these experiences through his traditional art. It's an approach to art which is steeped in history and symbolism (brilliant for looking at metaphors and similes)and some of the illustrations are wonderful in marrying his culture with that he experiences in England- a trip to the pub, for example, is shown by bats and a fox cloaked in darkness.
This book is brilliant for group reading- taking one picture at a time with younger readers. For older children the context of citizenship is an obvious topic to be addressed as they read it. Really can't recommend it enough!(less)
This is by far the best version of the rhyme/song that I've seen in a book format. Its jolly illustrations and interactive dial make it a tactile and...moreThis is by far the best version of the rhyme/song that I've seen in a book format. Its jolly illustrations and interactive dial make it a tactile and hopefully tuneful approach to teaching maths (subtraction) in an oblique way, as a child gets booted out of bed in each verse.
A perfect group read for foundation and year one children.(less)
A charming story and a great take on the other life that Snow White might have had, had she not taken up with some dwarves and a different Prince.
The...moreA charming story and a great take on the other life that Snow White might have had, had she not taken up with some dwarves and a different Prince.
The story is pretty bog standard in terms of its format as a fairy tale. Two sisters, a bear who becomes a prince and a malevolent dwarf who, though showed kindness by the girls, continues with his wicked ways only to be slain by the bear. Cue the transformation of bear to prince and the happy ever after ending when he marries Rose Red and his brother marries Snow White.
It's the vivid language in this tale that makes it particularly good. As a resource it's perfect for introducing children to the word of similes, there are sufficient parts that it could be acted out, older children could turn their hands to creative writing seeing what variations they could come up with when having to write a story including the elements of Snow White, dwarves and a prince and smaller children could have a blast recreating through art, the scenes depicted in the tale. (less)
L. Frank Baum is best known for his 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', but this is a little Christmas gem, and a great alternative to the usual festive far...moreL. Frank Baum is best known for his 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', but this is a little Christmas gem, and a great alternative to the usual festive fare that children usually are read.
In this story Santa Claus lives in Laughing Valley with reindeers but no elves, instead his helpers are ryls, knooks, pixies and fairies Together they share the valley with caves in which live the Daemons; Selfishness, Envy, Hatred, Malice and Repentance. (A great project for older children would be to reseach what each of these mythical creatures are and draw and describe their characteristics, and the emotions depicted in the Daemons could also be related to any work previously done on the Greeks, and Aristotle's 'List of Emotions').
Not wanting to spoil the entirety of the story, suffice to say that Santa triumphs over the obstacles put in his way- a classic story of good versus evil. However, the moral of the story is that though good may prevail, there's always badness lurking somewhere...
The Little Match Girl, is a lonely child, forced to sell her matches in order to try and earn a living. Out on the streets she strikes her matches and...moreThe Little Match Girl, is a lonely child, forced to sell her matches in order to try and earn a living. Out on the streets she strikes her matches and a vision of her grandmother comes to her in the light of the flame. Her grandmother, the only person who has ever truly loved her, reassures her and comforts her, and the next day, on New Years Day, the little girl is found frozen to death on the street with a book of matched burned out beside her.
A classic Hans Christian Andersen story. Not for the faint hearted, and I have to say, I'm not sure that I could find the positive in it, but all the same, is very beautiful and tragic and perhaps a good means of exploring empathy with children. However, as a teacher, you'd have to remain pretty stoic when reading this to a class, it made me cry!
There are a few versions of Browning's THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN available, so if you like the text you might want to pick and choose your edition bas...moreThere are a few versions of Browning's THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN available, so if you like the text you might want to pick and choose your edition based on the illustrations.
I think traditionally this text gets taught at secondary school, however, I can't see any reason why a year five or six class shouldn't be introduced to it.
The plot of the poem is of a stranger who comes to the town of Hamelin in Germany to rid the place of rats. He completes his mission by luring them out of town and into the river with his pipe music. However, when the time comes for the town council to pay him for his work, they will not, and so, as a truly macabre act of revenge, he lures the town's children away in the same way that he did with the rodents.
It's a dark poem, and yet strangely hypnotic. Based on a time when the town's children really were lost, purportedly to the plague or some other medical epidemic or perhaps to a landslide- there are various suggestions- Browning's interpretation may be a considered one of a number of secondary sources of art and literature depicting these events.
This poem is great to get discussion going, a literary detective case to piece together what actually might have happened when read in conjunction with other representations of the events in Hamelin. It also offers the children the chance to write in their verse, what happened in Hamelin, based on Browning's poem, or perhaps turn their hands to journalism and write a newspaper story based on the events depicted in the poem. As a writer, Browning can also be used on projects on the Victorians, with the added bonus (if it can be termed that) of having his tomb in Poets' Corner in Westmister Abbey and available to be visited.
Certainly not a light read, but definitely one to ge a lot out of.(less)
Edward Lear is perhaps best known for his Owl and the Pussycat poem and like that, The Two Old Batchelors has great language strewn...moreTotally brilliant.
Edward Lear is perhaps best known for his Owl and the Pussycat poem and like that, The Two Old Batchelors has great language strewn throughout it, which in this case, creates a very comic scene indeed.
Starting out as a hunt for food and ending up as mountaineering accident at the hands of a digruntled Sage, this poem will appeal to children (and adults) who like a little bit of drama and mischief. The Two Old Batchelors is a great introduction to writing in rhyming couplets, a lesson in trigonometry, a cookery course and also an instruction on health and hygiene (the opening lines are 'Two old Bachelors were living in one house; One caught a Muffin, the other caught a Mouse.', goodness only knows what state the house was in, in order for the muffin to be walking around...).
The beauty of this poem is that it can be read aloud to younger children and is sufficiently vivid it its language, in spite of it being rather avant garde at times, that the crazy world of the two batchelors is immediately brought to life. For older children,this poem begs to be put on as a full blown stage production. The poem is carved up into voices of the narrator and characters, there's obviously starring roles for the cheese, mouse and Sage too, a whole world of fun to be had making the costumes and scenery and the opportunity for the musical to add to the words with some brilliant sound effects. A perfect poem!(less)
Hilarious! A great story to read aloud with Foundation classes.
Bill, a burglar (as you might have guessed from the title!), steals everything he can l...moreHilarious! A great story to read aloud with Foundation classes.
Bill, a burglar (as you might have guessed from the title!), steals everything he can lay his hands on, including one day, a baby! Together they have a blast and then one day, the tables are turned and Bill himself is a vitim of an intruder in his home. Enter burglar Betty, who incidentally turns out to be the baby's mother! Bill and Betty fall in love and decide to turn their backs on their life of crime, return all the things that they have stolen and 'go straight'.
This is a really light-hearted, belly laugh enducing book, which children will love, with great pictures to go alongside the words.
Whilst most children who read Morpurgo's stories will know him for his animal tales, this is the story of a child's life in Palestine.
Told in turn by...moreWhilst most children who read Morpurgo's stories will know him for his animal tales, this is the story of a child's life in Palestine.
Told in turn by an adult film maker and Palestian 8 year old, Said, The Kites are Flying is a simple, beautiful depiction of the physical loss war creates and the hope and humanity it can foster in those ensnared in it.
Mr Max, the filmaker, and Said are brought together under the kite tree in Said's village, which looks out onto the dividing wall between Palestine and Israel in the occupied territories. Said's kites prove to hold more significance than one might initially imagine, and his quest to send them over the wall to the girl with the blue headscarf becomes a mission, which on succesful completion, shows the power of unspoken friendship transcending bariers of race and religion, from which we all might learn.
The illustrations in the book are beautiful and understated, in sympathy with Morpugo's prose.
This is a wonderful story. Perfect for for key stage two children to read alone or a chapter at a time as a group exercise. As a text to underpin project work, perhaps children making their own kites, cooking honey cake, exploring landscapes through art, or writing their own diaries, it's brilliant.(less)
Great depiction, through the illustrations, of multicultural childhood scenes. The writer, John Agard, is from Guyana and writes in patois for some of...moreGreat depiction, through the illustrations, of multicultural childhood scenes. The writer, John Agard, is from Guyana and writes in patois for some of the poems, so probably easiest introduced to children as a read aloud book. The themes of all of the poems are universal, as you can tell from the titles; 'If Only I Could Take Home A Snowflake' and 'Lollipop Lady', however corporal punishment also gets an airing, so you might want to pick and choose from the collection! All in all, a funny take on the lives of children and a good introduction to verse not so often considered in the normal cannon offered. (less)
On the surface a traditional fairy tale, though Wilde wrote it as a religious parable, however as a five ar six year old it wasn't a...moreUtterly beautiful.
On the surface a traditional fairy tale, though Wilde wrote it as a religious parable, however as a five ar six year old it wasn't a subtext I was aware of.
The plot centres around a giant who puts a wall around his beautiful garden to stop children playing in it, and in doing so, stops Spring from entering as well as them. One day the children find a cranny though which to kreep back into the garden and duly Spring returns and the garden becomes a paradise once more. As the giant goes into his garden to see the transformation up close the children shy away from him with the exception of one boy, stranded at the bottom of a tree. The giat lifts him up into it, and the child kisses his cheek. At that moment the Giant's selfishness melts as the ice in his garden has done and he sets about knocking down the wall. Every day the children come to play and the proper order of the seasons returns, but the giant never sees he child he lifted into the tree. Until one day, as a very old giant, the child apears before him with wounds on his hands. Horrified the giant wants revenge for the hurt caused to the boy, but the boy says;
"Nay! but these are the wounds of Love....You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise."
When the children return to the garden the next day the giant is found dead, under the tree with blossom on him.
This story is perfect for Foundation and Key Stage one children, and this edition in particular, as the illustrations are fantsatic. The fact that death features so obviously at the end might mean it needs be approached with a sense of caution, but the approach it takes is one of gentleness and love, so might also be a good tool to discuss issues of families and bereavement with smaller children.(less)
The Small Miracle is an utterly beguiling short story in this collection of two written by Paul Gallico. It tells the tale of a small orphan boy called...moreThe Small Miracle is an utterly beguiling short story in this collection of two written by Paul Gallico. It tells the tale of a small orphan boy called Pepino who lives in the town of Assisi and his quest to save his only love and companion, his Donkey, Violetta, from dying. Gallico's imagery is wonderful; magically creating the sounds and smells and vistas of Italy. His approach to depicting Pepino's charmingly naive, yet resolute manner of making the system work for him, is wonderfuly empowering for children (or anyone, actually, 'the system' may overlook as less than important)with the mantra of 'never take no for an answer'. Themes addressed in the story and which might be discussed are courage and ambition, love and family, faith and hope, with the added interest of an overseas setting and some unfamiliar language. All in all, a captivating and uplifting read. (less)