Mr Lee's Books of the Week

Last week I wrote: In the past few weeks I have seen so many pupils walk past our white book island and head straight for the book shelves – or taking a ‘book band book’ from a colour box but miss the opportunity to choose a fun book alongside.  
WOW!  I went in to the Library on Friday and lots of children had taken books from this section!
The focus this week is on levelled Usbourne books.  I have used information from the Usbourne website to convert the level for each book into the relevant book band.  Please note that these conversions are an approximation – and cannot be relied upon 100%.
If, for example, your child is on blue band (the level below green) then I recommend that you look at the Usbourne First Reading: Level One books.  If you feel that your child is ready, please feel free to take one of these books as a ‘fun book’ alongside a blue book band book from the tub.
Please note that all the Usbourne books include a barcode and will need to be checked out of the library using your child’s library card.
 
The Fox and the Crow
Usbourne First Reading: Level One (see the back of the book for the Level)
Green on book bands
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The First Reading series offers simple stories with one or two sentences per page and lively detailed artwork – perfect for children who are learning to read, but not yet reading alone. 
Based upon one of Aesop’s fables, this retelling by Mairi MacKinnon is perfect for stimulating conversation about the plot.  Can your child recall a situation when somebody said something nice to them, or somebody else, as a trick to get something from them?
This book includes a series of puzzles at the end.
How Zebras Got Their Stripes
Usbourne First Reading: Level Two (see the back of the book for the Level)
Orange on book bands
This is a new title in the fantastic Usborne Reading Programme, based on an old African folktale and aimed at children who are beginning to read. Once upon a time, zebras didn’t have stripes but a greedy baboon changed all that…  
My son really enjoyed this story – particularly the bit when he got to roar!  It is great for discussing the concept of sharing.  You may want to discuss the ideas of a folk tale.  Some folk tales may have been based on a partial truth – although not in this case – that has been lost or hidden over time.  Whilst folk tales are not factual recount, they often contain important messages.
This book includes a series of puzzles at the end.
The Enormous Turnip
Usbourne First Reading: Level Three (see the back of the book for the Level)
Turquiose on book bands
 
Each title in this series is a classic story or fable, retold with simple text to delight and inspire any child who is just beginning to read. 
Your son or daughter may have heard this story before, or they may have a read different version of the story at home or at the library.  This book is based upon the original story by Alexei Tolstoy.  [SPOILER ALERT] In the story, the farmer says, “Next year I’m growing carrots.”  This is the perfect stimulus for a shared retelling (this means that you join in!) of the story but with an enormous carrot.  Allow your child to change characters and words as they wish.
Percy Pirate and the Pirates
Usbourne First Reading: Level Three (see the back of the book for the Level)
Purple on book bands
Each title in this series combines simple text and illustrations to delight and inspire any child who is just beginning to read.  
Clear your throat and get ready for some lively pirate sea shanties as your child reads this book.  Is it fair that Captain Crook ends up down a hole?  What might have happened to Percy if he hadn’t been rescued?  Surely, the other pirates on the ship deserved their fate?  Would you have returned the treasure?
Beowulf
Usbourne Young Reading: Series Three
Monsters stalk the moors of ancient Denmark, murdering anyone they catch. But then a warrior comes from overseas. His name is Beowulf. 
How is it that a story written by an unknown author more than 1,000 years ago still captures the imagination?  Simple – it is a really good story with an incredible ‘superhero’.
As you can tell we have suddenly jumped forward to some of the more challenging Usbourne books (often seen with a purple coloured spine) and I have not included a book band.  This book is part of a series of classic tales for fully confident readers who still need to gain the stamina for standard length books.  They use advanced sentence structure and vocabulary, and have more complex plots.  
 
Even though this book is stored on the white island near other Usbourne books, this particular series of books will be appropriate for pupils in Key Stage 2.  Please do not walk past the white island and dismiss all the books as too easy! 
Previous Books of the Week
  • The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett
  • The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop by Claire Balding and illustrated by Tony Ross
  • Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Smugglers Bay by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto
  • Jampires by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell
  • Friendly Matches written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Fritz Wegner
  • Hubble Bubble: The Glorious Granny Bake Off! written by Tracey Courderoy and illustrated by Joe Berger
  • The Perfect Hamburger written by Alexander McCall Smith
  • We’re All Wonders written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio
  • Abigail by written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner
  • A Bear Called Paddington written by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum
  • Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: Up, Up and Away! written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Steven Lenton 
  • Dinosaur Police written and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
  • Danny the Dragon written by Russel Punter and illustrated by Peter Cottrill

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