Candlewick Press

Raymie Nightingale


'Raymie Nightingale' is a lovely story about friendship, yet is far more complex than it first might seem.

Raymie's father has left home. He's gone off with a dental hygienist and so Raymie forms a plan. If she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father will see her picture in the paper and will come home. However, she finds there is more to the competition than just competing- learning how to twirl a baton, doing good deeds- she also has to beat the other competitors: Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski.

The three girls couldn't be more different yet as the competition approaches, they come together to form an odd friendship which really works. Each girl benefits from the relationship- and it helps Raymie find out more about herself and come to terms with her father leaving. 

 The book offers so many possibilities for use in the classroom as there is far more to this story than it first appears. The characters are well formed and very individual with quirky traits, offering plenty of drama, discussion and writing opportunities. 

'Raymie Nightingale' is a beautiful story of love and loss, hurt and healing, fun and friendship.


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Candlewick Press    ISBN:  978-0763681173

The Glass Mountain


All the features of traditional tales can be found in this lovely collection of folk tales from Poland.

Told to Jan Pienkowski by the lady who lived next door to him when a child, he in turn told them to David Walser. In the best tradition of folk tales, David Walser has then added his own imaginings and details to these stories, making them his own.

Paper-cutting is a form of traditional folk art and the introduction shares how Jan Pienkowski learned these skills in his childhood. The book is full of these distinctive and bold illustrations that help to bring the stories to life. 

The result is a collection of pacey and well told tales that would be great for using with older children. There is a darker element to many of the tales which would compare well to some of the original Grimm stories and contrast well with modern versions, provoking much discussion about style and genre.  

Children could write their own versions of the tales, experimenting with changing the endings/ characters etc. There is also a very helpful pronunciation guide at the beginning; this would be excellent for encouraging children from Polish backgrounds to help others pronounce the words correctly whilst looking at the stories would value their culture and heritage. 

A great resource for those of us who love to share tales from around the world, 'The Glass Mountain' is a must-have for class and school libraries.


The Glass Mountain: Tales from Poland

Retold by David Walser, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski

Walker Books   ISBN:  978-1406348651