Synopsis – (From Amazon) Aunt Alberta is on a mission to cheat the young Lady Stella Saxby out of her inheritance – Saxby Hall. But with mischievous and irrepressible Soot, the cockney ghost of a chimney sweep, alongside her Stella is determined to fight back… And sometimes a special friend, however different, is all you need to win through.
My thoughts – I really enjoyed this book, it was a real page turner. The book has a lot of illustrations, which helps to break the book up, which may encourage less confident readers to read the book. Stella is a very determined character, she is very determined to escape from her aunt and find out what really happened.
Classroom ideas – There are a lot of mentions about cockney rhyming slang, so you could look at the different phrases, you could have a quiz or play bingo with the different phrases. The class could write a diary entry as one of the characters from the book, to enable them to explore the characters further. The children could write a chapter where Stella’s dad is hiding the deeds to the house. You could ask the children to make predictions, such as who is Soot, or why he has a connection to the house. The children could rewrite a chapter of the book from another perspective, such as in third person, or as another character. The children could do some drama, and act out different scenes from the book or do a freeze frame activity. You could find out if there are any local lords and lady’s and invite them in to talk to the children. The children could research jobs from the past and do a presentation or create a leaflet.