Friday, 22 June 2018

The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley

The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley

Book Review for Primary Teachers

This is a brilliant read suitable for pupils in year 5 or 6. You don't have to be a fan of football to enjoy this book. The story has all the elements you'd expect of good quest story and a mystery rolled into one.

It tells the story of 12 year old Noah, whose dream is to become a professional footballer. We learn in the Prologue of the death of Noah's mother and the impact that has on his immediate family. This becomes the driving force behind his determination to play in the School's World Cup to be in with a chance of being picked up by one of the football scouts. However, the head of his school bans him from playing for the school team for something he did not do which leaves his dreams in doubt.

The story is a quest story in that the protagonist has a goal ( to play in and win the School's World Cup) and as such pupils can map the plot of the story noting the highs and lows along the way. This can then be compared with the story arcs of other quest stories to identify the common elements. Analysis of this kind requires much more sophistication than the common 'story mountain' often used in Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2.

It is also a mystery story. From the moment Noah is banned from playing for the school team, readers are intrigued as to why the principal of his school made this decision. Noah also asks himself this question but as his priority is to find a way to play in the tournament he chooses to not dwell on the fact. The story is told in the third person but clearly from Noah's perspective. For this reason the reader is also forced to not dwell on the reasons for his ban. Nevertheless, it remains a constant thread all the way through the novel with fleeting references and observations which only go to heighten the intrigue. 

The novel's themes include gender stereotypes, privilege, morality, family, resilience and loyalty. 

Lexile Measure  760L
ISBN: 978-1-4472-9978-3
Publisher: MacMillan
Publication Date: 2016

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