How the grinch stole Christmas – Dr Seuss — December 4, 2018

How the grinch stole Christmas – Dr Seuss

Synopsis – The Grinch hates Christmas, and this year he has had enough. He’s decided that he’s going to out a stop to Christmas. How will the residents of whoville respond?

My thoughts – I enjoyed this book, however, it was quite different from the film, which was a little disappointing, but not completely unexpected. The language used was fairly simple, making it a great accessible Christmas read. I really like the illustrations in the book, they are so simple and the splash of red on each illustration adds emphasis to certain aspects of the illustrations. The illustrations were really engaging and helped to tell the story.

Classroom ideas – You could do a range of Christmas activities such as making cards or decorations. You could discuss what is really important and what Christmas is all about. You could look at the character of the grinch and ask the children why he might hate Christmas – you could talk about loneliness.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 | Book Review — October 24, 2018

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 | Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis – Good might stories for rebel girls 2 is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, Ilustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. This book inspires girls with the stories of great women.

My thoughts – It’s amazing to see how many incredible women there are out there making the world better one step at a time. They are going above and beyond to make the world better for other women.

Whilst it’s interesting to read this, the information is very quick fire and doesn’t give much detail about the women and their achievements. It’s a very basic overview of them. Which is perfect for young children, but makes this book less engaging for older children.

I love the illustrations and the quotes each women has after there information, it helps keep young readers engaged, and it gives more of an insight into the women they are reading about.

Classroom ideas – I think this book would be good to show girls how powerful women can be and show them that they can be anything they want to be. It may also have some use to support a unit on stereotypes. It could be useful to share at the start of a topic about one of these women as a short introduction into the woman. It could also be used as an example of how you may want their work to be presented as you could do a similar style entry for someone you are focusing a unit of work on, such as Queen Victoria.

Charlie and the chocolate factory – Roald Dahl — April 8, 2018

Charlie and the chocolate factory – Roald Dahl

Synopsis- Charlie really wants to win a golden ticket in one of Wonka’s bars of chocolate, will he win one and get to take a tour of Wonka’s chocolate factory?

My thoughts- I really enjoyed this book and it brought back lots of childhood memories. The illustrations broke up the book and may make it less intimidating for some children to read. The book has really good descriptions and help you to imagine how Dahl imagined up the chocolate factory and the different characters.

Classroom ideas – There are lots of ideas for this book that can be done with a class. One idea is to look at similes with children (‘as shrivelled as prunes’19) children could find the similes in the book and then come up with their own similes for characters in the book.
Children could write a newspaper article about the golden tickets or write a diary entry as Charlie when he wins his golden ticket.
Children could invent their own chocolate bar and create an advert to advertise their creation.
You could group children and get them to act out different scenes from the book, which would help them to understand the characters better. Another activity you could do to help children to understand the characters better is to do a role on the wall activity about the different characters in the book. You could have a different character on each table and children could have 5 minutes on each table to add as much information to the sheet as they can.
The children could design how they think the factory would look or write their own description about the factory after watching a clip from the film.

Flotsam – David Weisner — April 3, 2018

Flotsam – David Weisner

Goodreads synopsis – ‘A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam — anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects or every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share… and to keep.

My thoughts – I really liked the illustrations in the book, they were colourful and told the story really well. This is a pure picture books, meaning that the only words are necessary, e.g. The title and author etc, but you make up the story yourself from the illustrations.

Classroom ideas – You could link the book to history because there’s pictures from the past, you could discuss the history of photography, or predict when the photos were taken and look at events that happened in that era. You could discuss the habitat of the sea and the animals and plants that live in the sea, and how they are adapted for the environment they live in. The children could continue the story, or you could stop reading part way through and they could predict what would happen next. Older children could write the story using the illustrations as a guide. You could do a class photo similar to the one in the book, where each child takes a photo of them holding the photo from the previous child.

Oh the places you’ll go! – Dr Seuss — March 13, 2018

Oh the places you’ll go! – Dr Seuss


Synopsis – A book of hopes and dreams. Where will life take you?

My thoughts – I really liked the illustrations in this book, they range from bright, to pastel and even black and white, each page having matching illustrations that you can take lots from and really help to bring the story alive. The book uses lots of rhyming, meaning that it has a really nice flow and rhythm when you are reading it. The book uses some slang, but overall uses standard English which makes it accessible for all ages.

Classroom ideas – You could discuss what the pupils want to be in the future and what their dreams and aspirations are. You could enhance this by inviting in guests to discuss their hopes and dreams and how they achieved them, you could ask parents to come in and discuss their work. You could do some drama with pupils acting out their favourite pages from the book, or you could split the children into groups and have them act out a few scenes and perform it during an assembly.

You could look at the theme from the book of resilience, and that even thought life is a rollercoaster, what happens is mostly up to us. You could also discuss mistakes, and that making mistakes is how we learn best.

The London Eye Mystery – Siobhan Dowd — February 23, 2018

The London Eye Mystery – Siobhan Dowd

Synopsis – Ted, Kat, and Salim take a trip to visit the London Eye, they watch Salim get on, and watch everyone but Salim get off. How could he had disappeared into thin air? Ted and Kat work together to find clues across London to find their cousin. It comes down to Ted to use his unique brain to solve the mystery.

My thoughts – The very first sentence of this book hooks you, and you don’t want to put the book down. You want to know what the author means by Ted having a ‘funny brain’ – which could make the book relatable for some readers.

Image result for london eye mystery book

Classroom ideas – You could link to the book to engineering and D&t as Ted discusses the London Eye. The children could write a reply to Gloria as Faith. The children could do an art project relating to Andy Warhol as he is mentioned in the book. The children could create a missing poster for Salim or a newspaper report. You could do drama with some of the scenes in the book, or you could do a police interview with one of the characters. The children could write a diary entry as one of the characters at various points of the book. The children could try and work out what has happened to Salim. You could do a MOE activity, where the children have to work as detectives to find someone or something that has gone missing. You could look at growth mindset and do activities to support a growth mindset.

Famous five on treasure island – Enid Blyton — February 22, 2018

Famous five on treasure island – Enid Blyton

Synopsis – The Famous Five find a shipwreck off Kirrin Island. They are looking for clues to find the treasure when they discover someone else is doing the same thing. Who will get to the treasure first?

Image result for famous five book one

My thoughts – This is quite an old fashioned book, which may provide some difficulties with the language.

Classroom ideas – You could look at genders (George/Georgina) and stereotypes. Children could rewrite a chapter, or they could finish the book, giving it a different ending to the one in the book. The children could act out a scene from the book or do a freeze frame, and explore how the characters may be feeling. The children could write their own adventure for the famous five. They could do comprehension tasks, looking at the authors use of language. You could link it to science and children could make boats from different materials and see which one floats.

Awful Auntie – David Walliams — February 20, 2018

Awful Auntie – David Walliams

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.

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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.

Wonder – R.J. Palacio — February 19, 2018

Wonder – R.J. Palacio

Synopsis – Auggie Pullman just wants to be an ordinary 10 year old. Auggie was born with a facial abnormality and has been home-schooled, but now he’s going to school. He desperately wants to be accepted, and show his classmates that really, he is just like them.

Image result for wonder book

My thoughts – I loved this book! It is one of my favourite children’s books, and if I ever teach a year 5 or 6 class, I will definitely be using this book! The book hooks you from the first paragraph, you immediately want to know more. I like how the book told the story through different perspectives, showing that everyone has their own challenges that they are facing. You feel sorry for Auggie throughout the book, as he is facing a lot of challenges, and you hope that it will work out for him. The book teaches you to not judge someone based on their looks, before you get to know them.

Maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end, the universe takes care of all its birds.

Classroom ideas – This book would be good to show the effects of bullying, you could bring in guests to speak about bullying and what to do if your being bullied or if you know someone who is being bullied. You could do a hot seating activity where one child is August and the children could ask him questions. You could ask the children to write something a bully might say to August and then scrunch it up to see if the damage can be repaired. You could look at the precepts and ask the children to discuss what one of the precepts means to them, or they could write about it. The class could write a diary entry for one of the main characters in the book. They could create a character word cloud and draw themselves or a character in the style of the front cover and fill it with words to describe their personality. The children could write letters to the characters or write letters from the characters, either as themselves, or as another character from the book.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they do much.

The Useborne flip-flap body book – Alistar Smith & Judy Tatchell — February 13, 2018

The Useborne flip-flap body book – Alistar Smith & Judy Tatchell

synopsis – This book shows children how their bodies works in a fun and interactive way.

My thoughts – This book has lots of colourful illustrations which would engage and interest the children. The book is split into sections each about a different topic relating to the human body with a short quiz at the end of each topic.

Classroom ideas – You can use this to introduce a topic of the human body as it gives some information, but not too much that it would overwhelm them. You could use the short quiz at the start and end of the topic to show the progression of their knowledge throughout the topic. Each chapter leads itself to a range of activities relating to each topic.