Review also includes:
Year 3 (48pp)
The Thing in the Basement, Michaela Morgan, ill. Doffy Weir, 978-0713676242
On the Ghost Trail, Chris Powling, ill. Shaunna Peterson, 978-0713676808
Year 4 (64pp)
Taking Flight, Julia Green, ill. Jane Cope, 978-0713675948
Finding Fizz, Jenny Alexander, ill. Cherry Whytock, 978-0713676259
Nothing But Trouble, Alan MacDonald, ill. Pam Smy, 978-0713676792
Intended primarily for use in the classroom during guided reading sessions, this series of six books for Y3 and Y4 children offers much to hold children’s interest. The books cover specific genres – mystery and adventure for Y3, and stories that raise issues for Y4 – and are differentiated, in each year group, into lower ability, average and good readers. Stories are varied and stylishly written, based on themes and settings with which children will be familiar. Plots are straightforward, with no subplot or characters unrelated to immediate events to divert the reader’s attention.
In each of the books, text is set large and divided into short chapters, attractively illustrated with black and white drawings. Stories intended for less confident readers contain simple sentence constructions, repetition and one or more illustrations per page (as opposed to one per spread for top readers). Though care has obviously been taken in matching illustration style to story content, and integrating pictures with text, it’s a shame there’s not more ethnic diversity in the characters depicted.