Bookshelf Read Aloud

Vote for Effie

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New girl, Effie Kostas, might just have bitten off more than she can chew. Running a high-stakes campaign to be Junior Class President on the School Council against one of the most popular boys in school may not be the best way of fitting in, but Effie is not the sort of girl to sit around and tolerate injustice.

Having gathered a campaign team of others who don’t fit in, Effie finds friendship and support as she valiantly takes on the favourite in the election. But can organisation skills, plenty of stationery and big hair defy the odds and make a difference?

‘Vote for Effie’ is a wonderful read, full of humour. Effie is brilliant- optimistic, opinionated and intelligent, she hates injustice and will fight for any cause she believes in. The whole book is perfect for tackling issues of inequality that affect those at school- the lack of a girls’ foot ball team, for example, or the diversion of all funding to support the boys’ sports teams. From this platform, it is easy to look at wider issues involving gender inequality, encouraging children to speak out about the inequalities they encounter in their lives.

The book is full of great characters. Effie’s little sister, Lil, is a wonderful creation, feisty, full of life and wonderfully quirky. Iris, their elderly neighbour is also brilliantly written and her relationship with the girls perfectly illustrates all the positives of cross generational relationships. But my favourite is Zo - and I’m not going to spoil anything in the story by saying why!

The conflict between Effie and her arch nemesis, Aaron Davis, ends on a more positive note, showing the importance of working together. Although he initially fits the stereotype of arrogant, popular school sporting hero, the reader discovers there is more to Aaron than it first appeared and the same can be said for other characters. Effie’s Greek heritage is also offers children of Greek and Greek Cypriot origin to see themselves represented in such a positive book; Effie’s dad is another fabulous character! The whole book is cleverly designed to challenge the reader to think- and to inspire action.

‘Votes for Effie’ is essential for the library and is already next on my list of books to read to my Year 6 class. Brilliant stuff!

Vote for Effie Laura Wood

Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407187723

You can read our reviews of Laura’s ‘Poppy Pym’ series- books 1 and 2 here and book 3 here.

Pirate Pug: The Dog Who Rocked the Boat

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In this latest puggy adventure, Lady Miranda and Pug are off on a seaside holiday, staying in the best suite of the Smuggler’s Rest Hotel, Pebbly Bay. being afraid of water, Pug isn’t sure about being so close to the sea, but enjoys settling on the sand for a nap. However, an accident with a beach ball, leaving him wearing an eye patch, missing treasure and a rival gang of pirate on the treasure trail, and Pug has to face his fears and save the day- and the treasure!

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Perfect for pug-lovers and new independent readers, ‘Pirate Pug’ is the fourth adventure for our doggy hero whose antics amuse and entertain. The size of each title in this series is perfect for young hands, the large, clear text easy to read and each book has a satisfying ‘chunky’ feel to it. The illustrations are delightful, highly engaging and full of character, adding to both the humour and the appeal.

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The wonderfully quirky Pug once again has to face his fears and proves that being diminutive does not prevent you from being a hero, however unlikely! The story offers plenty of opportunities for discussion, not only about pirates, but also about the actions of Finnian and his gang, the importance of team work and about facing fears.

Pirate Pug: The Dog Who Rocked the Boat Laura James, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408895948

You can read our review of Captain Pug here, Safaris Pug here and last year’s NSTBA Read Aloud winner, Fabio here and here.

Little Rabbit's Big Surprise

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Bored because everyone else is too busy to play, Little Rabbit is asked by Big Rabbit, her Grandfather, to help him with his work. This puzzles her as Big Rabbit doesn’t have a job, but as they hop around together, visiting the neighbours, Little Rabbit soon finds out how busy her grandfather is!

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This is such a charming little story about the importance of community and caring for your neighbours. The warmth between Little Rabbit and her grandfather is lovely and she soon realises what his ‘job’ is and is happy to help him with it.

He listened. He helped. And he made sure no one in their community was ever forgotten.

The vocabulary has been carefully chosen offering a rich read with plenty of detail and much to enjoy. It is a pleasure to read aloud and would be great for story time.

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The gentle story is illustrated by beautiful pictures, showing idyllic country scenes. There are pictures on each page and their soft tones complement the story perfectly. Little Rabbit is a delightful character and it would be lovely to see her, her grandfather and her friends in more stories.

Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise Swapna Haddow and Alison Friend

Stripes Publishing ISBN: 978-1788950299

Published 7th February 2019