Bookshelf Read Aloud

The Switching Hour

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…never let the outside in…

A terrible drought has the land in its clutches. Every night, Amaya watches her grandmother go through the ritual of locking the door to keep them, her todling brother, Kaleb, and her pet goat, Tao, safe from Badoko. Awoken by the drought, this monstrous creature snatches people away and feeds on their dreams. After three days, all memory of the missing one will disappear, leaving those remaining with the Sorrow Sickness, an all consuming grief.

When Kaleb is taken, Amaya is overcome with guilt and knows that she must rescue her little brother before she forgets him completely.

A compelling tale of bravery and love, ‘The Switching Hour’ is a magical story, rich in the traditions of myth, legend and folklore. Evocative language brings to life the parched landscape which forms its backdrop and the relentless heat permeates the story.

Amaya , determined to remember her little brother and to rescue him-and the other stolen children- from Badoko, is brave and resourceful, finding friendship and conquering fears on her quest. At times vulnerable and quite naive, she is a heroine the reader can identify with and support all the way, desperate for her to succeed in her task. Tau, her goat, is just wonderful - a companion like no other!

Deliciously creepy in places, ‘The Switching Hour’ is an atmospheric and immersive read.

The Switching Hour Damaris Young

Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407195049

The Adventures of Kitty

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Having a mother with superhero powers isn’t always easy. Sometimes mum has to go and help others when really Kitty would like her to stay at home. Kitty knows that someday she will inherit her mother’s cat-like powers, but she isn’t sure that she will ever be brave enough to embark on the brave and daring adventures this will involve.

In the first book (Moonlight Rescue), Kitty is approached by a little cat called Figaro who is in need of help. Amazed that she can understand him, she learns that there is a terrible noise coming from the clock tower. Afraid of the dark, Kitty has to pluck up her courage and leap into action.

In her second adventure (Tiger Treasure), Kitty and her kitten, Pumpkin, sneak into the museum to see a prized exhibit. When this is stolen, they must help to recover it before morning.

These little books are perfect for newly independent readers. Kitty is a very appealing character who comes to realise she can be brave with the support of her new found feline friends and confront her fears. The stories are full of wonderful illustrations in black, white and orange which really bring characters to life. With the added bonus of fascinating feline facts at the end each book, these gentle stories make a lovely read.

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue Paula Harrison, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

OUP ISBN: 978-0192771650

Kitty and the Tiger Treasure Paula Harrison, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

OUP ISBN: 978-0192771667

I, Cosmo

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Cosmo is a Golden Retriever. He is devoted his family, particularly Max who he promised to protect when he was a baby. However, all is not well- Mum and Dad are arguing all the time and Max is terrified about what the future might hold. But what can a dog do to help? With the help of Uncle Reggie, Max and Cosmo decide to enter a dancing competition to remind mum and dad of the days when they used to dance round the kitchen and were happy. But Max will have to overcome his shyness and Cosmos his creaking joints if they are to stand a hope of mum and dad getting the message.

There is nothing I can say which can sum up what a special book this is! Cosmo is a mixture of all the dogs I have known and loved in my lifetime. Cosmo’s voice is beautifully written with his dog’s eye view of events carefully relayed. The bond he has with Max and his tireless devotion his doggy heart gives is so touching. Childhood pets are so important and the comfort they offer is boundless. This is Monty, endlessly ( or should that be hopelessly) devoted to my son who spent many happy hours sharing his basket. (Please excuse the quality- pre-digital age!)

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However, there is more to this book than that. There is plenty of humour added to the story as Cosmo tries to make sense of the world about him. Cosmo’s love of bacon and Grease (the film) , the naughty things he occasionally tempted into doing all add to his wonderful personality.

There is a more serious side to this story. Max’s misery at the constant arguments and the tension they create, his uncertainty at what the future holds and his fear of being separated from Cosmo are all explored sensitively and seen through Cosmo’s eyes, allowing for some distance.

This is a must read story - something really different and special. Get the tissues ready!

I, Cosmo Carlie Sorosiak

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788003872