Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Angel of Nitshill Road by Anne Fine

The Angel of Nitshill Road by Anne Fine: Review for Primary Teachers.

Anne Fine often writes about social issues and The Angel of Nitshill Road deals with the problem of bullying, making it an ideal read for anti-bullying week/month.

The story is set in school and three of the characters are being bullied by one of their peers. Penny, Mark and Marigold are miserable. Penny is rather plump, Mark's compared with a Martian and Marigold can't speak to anyone - thanks to relentless bullying from Barry Hunter. Then Celeste arrives and things begin to change. Watering the plants, polishing her desk - her whims infuriate Mr Faraway, but the classroom looks better already. Celeste atrocious at maths - she doesn't mind about it a bit, but it gives Marigold hope knowing she's not bottom of the class any more. Barry tries to bully Penny at break, but Celeste stands up for her, saying that she could lose weight any time - Penny's shocked that Celeste mentions her size, but it makes her realise things need to change. When Barry calls Mark weird, Celeste laughs in his face, asking if anyone would possibly want to be normal, if to be normal is to be like Barry. The next day, Celeste arrives with a book and a gold pen, and each and every last horrible word or taunt is entered in the book, with witnesses. The children begin to take control of what's happening to them and Mark just makes a joke of it when Barry puts a cardboard box on his head. When Celeste has to leave, she gives the book to Mr Faraway who is first astonished, and then realises he too was silent about what was going on. Celeste steps out, but not before astonishing everyone by leaving the gold pen with Barry Hunter.

The story will facilitate discussions which explore why people bully, the effects on those being bullied and ways in which to stop bullying.

The story begins with a 'reflective' statement Until the angel came, there were three terribly unhappy children at Nitshill Road School: Penny, Mark and Marigold. The rest of the first chapter introduces the reader to the three unhappy characters and the perpetrator of the bullying, Barry Hunter. This first chapter is particularly important in helping the reader understand  each of characters from a range of different viewpoints. 

Anne Fine uses quite a few examples of simile throughout the book. By paying close attention to specific examples, children can examine how the meaning is enhanced through the author's choice of words and phrases. 

Shortlisted for Carnegie Medal, 1993
Shortlisted for Federation of Children's Book Groups Award, 1993

AR book level 3.9
lexile 630L
Interest Level 8-10

Published by Egmont
First Published 1992
ISBN 978-1-4052-3320-0

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