Books and Author of the Week!

Books of the Week 

Angel and Stella are avid Julia Donaldson fans and so have chosen this author as their respective Books of the Week.

Julia Donaldson is one of our most popular authors and for good reason. The stories are engaging, the illustrations, with several collaborators, are colourful and captivating and the rhymes are perfectly phrased and fun to read aloud. I have written previously of the importance of rhyme in developing early reading skills, thus it is no surprise that parents and schools alike have been drawn to her stories to engage and motivate children to read.

The rhythms and rhyme schemes are often dynamic. ‘Tiddler’ and ‘The Highway Rat’ (the latter based on the epic narrative poem, ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes) are examples of work which come to life when read out loud. The repetition and unusual metre in both ‘The ‘Highwayman’ and ‘The Highway Rat’ capture the sinister galloping hooves as both protagonists advance towards their goals. Tiddler’s ‘tall tales’ and wild stories are told with a rap-like rhythm and alliteration that enhance the colourful nature of his imagination and his adventures.

Julia Donaldson often takes inspiration from diverse themes such as Chinese folklore (The Gruffalo). Her story telling makes sure that we care about the characters – they are succinctly and perfectly created within the space of just a few lines. They convey complex emotions so simply and they teach our children about the most important of human experiences, both difficult and rewarding. Many of her books feature the themes of friendship, family and perseverance. In ‘The Snail and the Whale’, when the snail realises that the whale is in dire peril, her despair that she may not be able to help him is palpable. Likewise, when we hear of how the tiny snail, ‘so small and frail’, saves the life of her massive friend, it is hard to stop a cheer of triumph escaping!

Angel recommends ‘A Squash and A Squeeze’ by Julia Donaldson.

A Squash and a Squeeze : Donaldson, Julia, Scheffler, Axel: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Angel’s reason for her choice:

“Julia Donaldson is my favourite author and I chose this story because it is so funny!”

Mrs Harvey would also recommend this modern classic. ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ was Julia Donaldson’s first picture book, the story of an anxious little old lady, whose house is just too small – but when she asks a wise old man for help, he suggests a rather strange solution to her problems. Pairing Donaldson’s jaunty rhyming text and charming, witty illustrations by Axel Scheffler, it’s no surprise that this delightful picture book has become a classic.

A Squash and a Squeeze’ is a brilliantly funny story with an important moral about being grateful for what we have. The lively rhyming and repetitive text make this a fantastic book for developing children’s speech and language skills. The repetition allows children to quickly become familiar with the words and phrases, allowing them to join in and engage in story time. I like using the story as part of a sequencing activity where children recall the order of the animals taken into the house. It’s lovely to see the book making use of a range of synonyms for the word ‘small’ in reference to the old lady’s house after each animal is added (e.g. poky for one, tiny for two, titchy for three, tiny for four, etc.).

Stella’s Book of the Week is ‘The Girl, The Bear and the Magic Shoes’ by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks.

The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes : Donaldson, Julia, Monks, Lydia: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Stella’s reason for her choice:

“I am a huge Julia Donaldson fan! I chose this book because it is one of her lesser known stories and is a fabulous read.”

Mrs Harvey supports Stella’s choice. This is one of Julia Donaldson’s more recent texts (published in 2019) – a glittering magical adventure about a girl, a bear and some very special shoes. When Josephine leaves the shoe shop after buying some new running shoes, she hears an unusual sound – Click-click! Click-click! A bear with a backpack is following her!

Luckily for Josephine, her new shoes are anything but ordinary – these are magic shoes. But can they help her escape the bear when there’s a mountain, a bog and even a lake in her way? Full of action and imagination, and with a delightfully unexpected ending, this gorgeously glittery book is one to enjoy over and over again.

The book also introduces to children the use and role of particular literary devices. The story makes great use of onomatopoeia, adding interesting and dramatic effect to the writing. Onomatopoeia helps heighten language beyond the literal words on the page. Onomatopoeia’s sensory effect is used to create particularly vivid imagery—it is as if you are in the text itself, encouraging you to share the experiences of the main protagonist.

Author of the Week

This week, Aaron our Junior Librarian from 2JB, has chosen David Walliams as his author of the week. Aaron likes all the different story lines and David Walliams’ sense of humour.

We have a wide range of picture books and chapter books by this prolific author available in our Grimsdell Library.

Happy Reading

Mrs Harvey