Friday, 16 January 2015

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers' picture book, Lost and Found, is a charming tale about a boy and a penguin and their growing friendship.
One day the penguin just turns up at the boy's house and the boy presumes he is lost. The boy then goes on a journey to try and find out where the penguin has come from. As you follow the character, Oliver Jeffers tells the story with a humorous tone that will amuse both children and adults alike with lines such as “ He asked some birds if they knew where the penguin came from. But they ignored him. Some birds are like that.” 

The language and sentence structure are simple enough to make the story suitable for Key Stage 1. The themes of loneliness and friendship are ones often explored at key stage 1 and Lost and Found would be an ideal stimulus for these topics.
The illustrations introduce another level of narrative and add complexity to the written text. Whilst the story can be enjoyed by very young children the illustrations require a much more developed visual literacy. For example, it would be interesting to ask children in year 2 or above how Jeffers depicts the passing of time on the page where we are told 'The boy didn't know where it had come from but it began to follow him everywhere.' It is only as children develop through Key Stage 2 that they will be able to discuss the effects of the differing tones of each of the frames, the relative sizes of the characters in each of the frames and the distance between them. Likewise when the boy returns to find the penguin at the South Pole, younger children will not understand why the boy can't see the penguin. Although the illustrations are simply drawn, Jeffers captures each emotion of the boy and the penguin. How can the positioning of two small dots and a beak portray so much? 

Lost and Found won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize Gold Award and was the Blue Peter Book of the year.

Published by HaperCollins 2005 in HB and 2006 in PB
PB ISBN 978-0-00-715036-6


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Oliver Moon and the Potion Commotion by Sue Mongredien

Oliver Moon is the hardest working wizard at Magic School and now he's been nominated for Young Wizard of the Year. But at home, he has to cope with his seriously embarrassing unmagical parents. What will the judges say when they find out that the Moons use a microwave instead of a cauldron and a car instead of a broomstick?

Schools and magic are a winning combination, and Oliver Moon's adventures bring the genre to younger readers who are just gaining their reading independence and developing reading stamina. It is in the form of a chapter book and is ideal for year 2/3 class libraries and would also make an ideal text for guided reading. 

Oliver Moon is the younger reader's 'Harry Potter'. Children will revel in the descriptions of the disgusting living conditions and diet required of all the best wizards, and in the distinctive illustrations! Oliver Moon and the Potion Commotion is the first in a series of books. The story itself has the perfect combination of tension and humour which will keep children wanting to read. The chapters are short enough for those who have just attained reading independence and as such the series would be 'the next step' from books which are anthologies of short stories such as 'Horrid Henry' and 'Dertie Bertie'

Sue Mongredien's writing style provides an excellent model for alliteration. She not only makes use of alliteration for the use of characters' names but also regularly in noun phrases such as 'scorpion stew', 'sausage sandwich' and 'pig-trotter pies'. She also makes use of a wide range of alternative vocabulary for 'said'. In the first chapter you will come across 'pointed out', 'echoed', 'slurped', 'reminded', 'squeaked', 'announced', 'yelped', 'cried' and 'begged'.

The book's underlying message is a valuable one – that we need to work together to achieve, and when we do, it brings satisfaction for all.

Publisher: Usborne
ISBN: 978-0-7460-7306-3