LONGLIST REVIEW: The Girl with No Nose

Alice Peasbody is born without a nose in Victorian England where life is hard. Although much loved by her parents, Alice tries to stay in the shadows, away from the judgemental gaze of the 'perfect' people around her until being given a prosthetic nose gives her the courage to get a job. She still cowers away from others, scared of their reactions.

At work, she makes a special friend, Daisy, who has to leave due to her awful spelling, leaving Alice alone again. Deeply compassionate, Alice helps the chimney-sweep's boy, Ben, when his cruel master sets a fire beneath him, by scaring the bullying Mister Jim into taking better care of his boys. 

Eventually, Alice finds a kindred spirit and marries happily.

Be a beacon. Be a lighthouse, a torch, a lantern, a sun, a bulb, a match, a ray.

Be anything that lights the right way.

Inspired by a false nose mounted on the bridge of a silver spectacle frame in the Hunterian Museum in London, this is a lovely story about the value of the real person, not how someone looks. The story offers lots of historical detail, making it the perfect starting place for further investigation and discovery. The fact that the story was built around an artefact could inspire children to choose an object- or a picture- that they find fascinating and build a narrative around it. 

Children could also make comparisons with other stories which are driven by how people view others- Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for example.

The story lends itself to much writing in role and character exploration, with plenty of opportunities to work through drama- role play, hot seating, freeze framing etc. It is also a story that could be used to explore empathy and compassion. 

A very original book with a heart-warming theme which will work well wit classes of different ages.

The Girl With No Nose  by Georgia Byng

Barrington Stoke      ISBN: 978-1781125694