This is another great selection of little Early Reader books from my favourite reading scheme, published by Maverick Arts Publishing Ltd. It doesn’t matter how often I receive a parcel to review – I am always delighted with them and so continue to recommend them to parents and teachers. This band – gold – is aimed at more confident readers so uses chapters to both introduce pace and complexity along with a smaller font than earlier levels. All are still lavishly illustrated throughout which makes them so distinctive for reading books at this level.
Washing–up Will by Jenny Moore, Illustrated by Floss Pottage
Will the washing–up fairy (we all need one of those), works for Mrs Sparkle who is rather demanding. Although he has an evident interest in learning to bake, she insists that he gets on with his designated job. His latest task is to sort out the kitchen of the appallingly messy Beck family. He works hard to make everything shine but just as he is making real progress, he is distracted by a cookbook. This spells disaster and he has to make quick escape through the cat flap. I won’t spoil how the plot unfolds but it has a very happy ending.
The Cow’s Bottom by Katie Dale, Illustrated by Cole Roberts
Jayden has a great imagination plus well developed acting skills. When he realises that the next school play is ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ he rather fancies himself in one of the key roles. His casting as the cow’s bottom is a big disappointment at first but he throws himself into the role with enthusiasm, and is also pleased to be Jack’s understudy. When the boy playing Jack has a bad case of stage fright, Jayden realises that he can help out and still stay inside the cow costume. There is plenty of opportunity to talk about teamwork and friendship in this one.
Big Foot by Heather Pindar, illustrated by Natalie Briscoe
Danni is a bit of a trickster and decides to surprise her friend Sameer by pretending to be a monster. She has the perfect orange furry onesie as a costume and improvises some home- made claws – what fun! When she is much more convincing than she expected, she is faced with a dilemma: should she confess? When she does – he proves to have a great imagination and together they work to persuade others that Big Foot the monster is real. Everything starts to get a bit beyond their control and they have to find a way to make the huge influx of visitors to the woods less of a problem. Lots to discuss about protecting the environment in this one.
The Fortress of Fear by Elizabeth Dale, illustrated by Erin Hunting
This one is my favourite from this batch because I always like a scary tale. When Tom and Leo’s class visits the Fortress of Forfar they are all suitably impressed with spooky looking turrets and tales of ghosts. But surely nothing bad can happen in daylight? Or maybe it can! When the boys get lost they discover an exciting secret that will make the trip really memorable. The final pages set in the gift shop reveal all…
As ever, these books are strongly recommended to engage readers who love a good story with plenty of twists and turns along the way.