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Library News

This week, we have two book recommendations for you to consider, selected by the Junior Librarians Eliott from 2NS and Neeve from 2JB. 

Firstly, Eliott recommends The Queen’s Hat, written and illustrated by Steve Antony.

Eliott’s reason for his choice: 

“This is a really funny story. The queen runs all over London chasing her hat!”  

Pursued by a corgi sporting an argyle vest, a cartoonish queen figure runs through London chasing her hat, which is being whisked away by a strong breeze. 

Mrs Harvey supports Eliott’s choice. The humorous chase takes readers on a whistle-stop tour of all the tourist sights, from Buckingham Palace through Trafalgar Square, London Zoo (animal chaos), down into the Underground, ’round the London Eye, over Tower Bridge, up and down Big Ben, and finally to Kensington Palace, where, miraculously, the hat lands gently on the head of the royal baby being pushed in a pram. Of course, a queen can’t run through London unattended; she is aided in her pursuit of the hat by increasing numbers of identical royal guards, dressed in traditional tall busby hats, who fill up every available space. These figures add a repetitive decorative element and ranks of them appear like wallpaper on the endpapers and cover. Attractively designed with effective use of white space, the book is eye-catching and amusing and has a surreal element that children will love. A helpful glossary provides additional facts about London landmarks. 

Humorous books seem to have an irresistible pull-on child.  I often find them giggling together over a picture book. Our humour section is very popular and draws pupils of all ages.  Funny stories are an invaluable teaching tool and can support our commitment to pupil well-being.  

The physiological and psychological benefits of laughter are well-documented. One of the main physiological effects of laughing is the production of endorphins which promote a sense of well-being and help relieve stress.  Laughter can also help counteract feelings of anxiety or anger in children.  When we smile, levels of one of the body’s stress hormones, cortisol, are reduced.  All of these effects are very beneficial to a person’s mental health.  In an age where schools are paying increasing attention to the mental health and emotional well-being of their pupils, laughter is a powerful tool to utilise in the classroom – and what better way to do that than through funny books?  

The book is available to borrow from our school library.  


Our second book of the week takes us on a different journey altogether. Neeve from 2NS has chosen a traditional tale, The Unicorn Prince retold by Saviour Pirotta and illustrated by Jane Ray. 

Neeve’s reason for her choice:  

“I like how the unicorn transforms into a human – it is a really magical story.” 

The fortunes of a young woman are magically transformed when she shows kindness to a unicorn in this enchanting contemporary fairy tale, based on a Scottish fable and gloriously illustrated by Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee Jane Ray. It has all the essential elements of a fairy tale – a proactive and kind heroine, a derelict castle, a unicorn, fairies and a magic transformation. 

Jane Ray’s jewel-bright illustrations shine like the flourishes of an illuminated manuscript in Saviour Pirotta’s The Unicorn Prince featuring a crumbling castle, a dauntless heroine, industrious fairies and an enchanted prince. 

The genre of traditional tales has an important role to play in the development of our children. From prepping us for the pitfalls of life to teaching us valuable skills and lessons, traditional tales and fairy tales are ever relevant, whatever our age. These narratives stay with us well beyond our childhood. 

According to child psychologist Sally Goddard Blythe, director of The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology and author of The Genius of Natural Childhood: Secrets of Thriving Children, even in our own age, fairy tales still have a lot to teach children about life, and indeed give us key imaginary experiences that shape us throughout our lives: “Fairy tales are important not because they show children how life is, but because they give form to deep fears and dreams about life through fantasy”. 

Most traditional tales embody the hopes and aspirations of the majority of people in the society and are used to transmit and preserve the cultural values of the group. The stories help in showing how society views itself and also conveys their notions of justice, rights and social obligations of its citizens. Honesty, goodness and unity are depicted as important values which the heroes and heroines of traditional tales always use to prevail over their problems. The traditional tale genre provides ways for children to receive important messages – the role of honesty, kindness – and the message of each is ultimately positive, providing a sense of wellbeing. 

The book is on display and available to borrow from our school library. 

Happy Reading! 

Mrs Harvey