Books of the Week
As we head into half break, we finish this half term with three Books of the Week, chosen by our Junior Librarians Lily, Sofia and Aaron.
Firstly, Lily from 2JB recommends a popular series of books by the author and illustrator, James Mayhew: ‘Ella Bella Ballerina – The Nutcracker’.
Lily shares with us the reason for her choice:
“I love dancing and I really like reading all the different ballerina stories.”
Mrs Harvey supports Lily’s choice.
In this story, Ella Bella the eponymous little ballerina in author/illustrator James Mayhew’s picture-book series devoted to her adventures, returns for her fourth appearance in a story based on a famous ballet, this time in a dreamlike interaction with the cast of the Nutcracker. The ballet’s plot is skillfully summarised and delicate watercolour-and-ink illustrations capture the exciting battle scene and create an ethereal atmosphere for the Land of Sweets with backgrounds of pink blossoms and candies. James Mayhew’s richly detailed storytelling and his exquisite, retro art-style make this book perfect for all would-be prima ballerinas. The final page is devoted to ballet facts, so children can learn about the original ballet The Nutcracker.
The Grimsdell Library has all five of the books in the Ella Bella Ballerina series as well as the entire set of the Katie series. James Mayhew’s first book for children was Katie’s Pictures Show, (Orchard Books 1989) establishing the long-running series about a child’s adventures in an art gallery. Many of his books have a cultural agenda and James is passionate about introducing children to art, music, opera, ballet and traditional tales. His series of Katie books are much-loved and respected as an early introduction to art. He has published over 60 books and illustrated and written for many other colleagues including Philippa Pearce, Martin Waddell and Jackie Morris.
Sofia (2HD) recommends the very popular Rainbow Magic series of books by Daisy Meadows: Rainbow Magic: The Fairyland Costume Ball’
Sofia tells us: “I love these stories about fairies and the magic of fairyland. My sister does too!”
Mrs Harvey would also support Sofia’s choice. The Rainbow Magic books are a huge hit with many of our Grimsdell readers. Readers enjoy their themes of friendship, problem-solving and of course magic! The first point in encouraging children to read and to foster a love of reading is to give them choice and ownership over their reading materials. Freedom to choose is the stimulus for creating lifelong readers. The repetitive storylines of the books are often exasperating for adults but this repetition is an important learning tool for children – it teaches them the skill of prediction, which they can then apply to other texts they read.
Finally, Aaron from 2JB recommends a non-fiction book, ‘Look Inside Space’ by Rob Llyod Jones.
Aaron’s reason for his choice: “I think you should read this book because Space is a fascinating topic and there are flaps you can lift to discover fun facts!”
Mrs Harvey supports Aaron’s choice of non-fiction. I have written previously of the important role non-fiction plays in the reading repertoire of young readers. Space is a popular topic with our Grimsdell children and this interactive lift-the-flap book is a lovely introduction to space. Start on Earth and take a rocket up beyond the sky to swoop past the moon, then explore the sun and stars, our solar system and the galaxy. Each page has lots of things to discover, from the moon landings to the history of star gazing, and readers can even take a peek inside the space station. The facts are informative, perfect for those who are new to the subject of space and use language that is straightforward and accessible for younger readers.
Have you wanted to explore the International Space Station? Well, now you can because this show-all book reveals the secrets of the space station — yes, even how the toilet prevents astronauts from floating away when their trousers are wrapped around their ankles! Have you ever wondered what Earth looks like from space? This book shows you.
The book is filled with plenty of colourful drawings that illustrate all sorts of interesting facts about space everything from the birth of a star to what is in the middle of the Milky Way. This book also features a four-page fold-out centrefold of the solar system, complete with flaps so, for example, you can peek at the surface of Mars, see a close-up of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, and learn why spacecraft cannot land on one of the outer “gas giant” planets. It includes plenty of flaps under the flaps, so it contains a lot more information than what first meets the eye. I especially liked the last section, where children asked space questions and the answer could be found under a flap. Shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society’s Young People’s Book Prize, this well-constructed and engaging book is interesting, accurate and highly interactive and is a wonderful introduction to space for young children.
Authors of the Week
Angel, Amee and Amirah have put their thinking caps on and chosen two very exciting authors for you to try!
Firstly, Angel and Amee both recommend Rob Biddulph, whose rhyming stories are lots of fun. We have a wide range of his books in our Grimsdell library.
Secondly, Amirah recommends Kes Gray, famous for his Daisy series of stories plus many others!