Jennifer's Reviews > Hetty Feather

Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson
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Jun 19, 12


I have come across this book on my final PGCE placement. It is being used in my Year 5 class as the literacy focus text. The children are reading it as a class and all grammar and writing tasks are coming out of the book. It follows the early life of Victorian orphan Hetty Feather as a baby in the Foundling Hospital, through her early years in her foster home, her later return to the Foundling Hospital, and all her adventures in between.

I must confess that I had not read a Jacqueline Wilson book before (although I am familiar with the Tracy Beaker show). Other reviews have stated that this is not her best, but I enjoyed the book, especially the way that Hetty is delivering her own autobiography, the depth of character description and the rich details in the text relating to the Victorian setting. Although there were some predictable elements and I felt the ending was a little weak, I expected my class to really enjoy the book. However, the group are really struggling with the text. I have read other reviews of this book by children in which they have enjoyed reading ‘Hetty Feather’ and consider it to be suitable for children over the age of 8 in general. Maybe they would enjoy it as a “reading book” rather than their “class work book”, because it really is a good read.

Yes, there is some tricky vocabulary, but I think this is a great book to introduce older KS2 readers to the genre of historical fiction. The book is well written, the story moves quickly whilst still providing depth of character and place description, and Jacqueline Wilson does not shy away from introducing younger readers to the often ugly realities of children’s lives in the Victorian era. Despite the reception this book has received from my current Year 5 class, I would definitely consider recommending this book to children of a similar age, as well as using the text to support cross-curricular literacy/ Victorian history topic work.
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