Fred's Dream ¦ The Great Marathon Football Match
The Great Marathon Football Match
It's good to have these racy, knockabout Brick Street Boys books in 'shinyback'. The Ahlberg's fast-moving narratives comes as close to the talk of contemporary seven-ups as anyone's and the pictures are tremendous. I think that they've done more than any other writers/artists for this age group in showing that techniques from the TV screen and the Beano can be combined with the power of a good storyteller.
Fred's Dream is a good starting point for the unconverted. We meet the main characters and the teachers (so true to life with just the right degree of harassment and idealism!). A storytelling session at the end of the day ('And so the brave knight rode off to find the secret castle') sends Fred off into a dream involving a besieged castle, adventures in night kitchens (a seven-year-old told me that the whole dream is set in storyland!) and a surrealistic finale at Wembley Stadium. How do you feel about the stereotyped Eskimos and marauding Red Indians.?
The Great Marathon Football Match has the boys on vivid escapades to raise money for their teams' kit. Again, there's more life, vigour and literate fun than in a shelf full of reading schemes. How do you feel about the sex-stereotyping? Of the I'm sure: the books are unmissable and I can take you to nine-year-olds who've found out what reading is about through them!