Anne Fine

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2015 – The Round Up

Published December 31, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Hi everyone and welcome to my round up post where Chrissi and I talk about our highlights (and lowlights!) of Kid-Lit 2015. We had some fantastic books on the list this year, please see my reviews below and for Chrissi’s reviews, visit her blog HERE.

JANUARY- Five Children And It- E.Nesbit

FEBRUARY- Pollyanna- Eleanor H.Porter

MARCH- Diary of A Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

APRIL- Flour Babies- Anne Fine 

MAY- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- C.S Lewis

JUNE- Velveteen Rabbit- Margery Bianco 

JULY- Gangsta Granny- David Walliams 

AUGUST- The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

SEPTEMBER- Watership Down- Richard Adams

OCTOBER- Goodnight Mister Tom- Michelle Magorian

NOVEMBER- The Class That Went Wild- Ruth Thomas

DECEMBER – The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) – Rick Riordan

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our third year of Kid-Lit blogging.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2015 and why?
BETH: SUCH a tough choice. We had some super amazing titles this year. If I absolutely had to choose one it would be Goodnight Mister Tom which narrowly beats The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, one of my all-time favourites. So beautiful. So moving. I may have shed a tear or two…
CHRISSI: It has to be Goodnight Mister Tom which is one of my favourite books of all time, even as an adult it moved me. Possibly more so. Arghhhh the love I have for this book.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2015 and why?
BETH: Hmm. There weren’t any real howlers this year (compared to the horror that was The Swiss Family Robinson last year!). Again if I had to choose, I would go for Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. This is not because it’s terrible because it’s not at all. Perhaps I was just expecting something a bit more and maybe I’m the wrong demographic but it wasn’t an amazing read for me.
CHRISSI: Watership Down. I’m a massive rabbit lover and wanted to connect with it more.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book of 2015 that surprised you the most?
BETH: Either Watership Down which was slightly darker than I expected or Velveteen Rabbit which was even more adorable than I expected!
CHRISSI: The Lightning Thief. I didn’t expect to enjoy Percy Jackson as much as I did!
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2015?
BETH: Yes! Something else from Ruth Thomas after once again thoroughly enjoying The Class That Went Wild as an adult and David Walliams as I thought Gangsta Granny was a brilliant read. Wonder if one of these authors will turn up on our list for 2016? &#X1f60a
CHRISSI: More from David Walliams and Rick Riordan!

For anyone who reads these posts, thank you so much for your continued support, we love doing this challenge and hope to continue it indefinitely. Coming tomorrow – the big reveal for Kid-Lit 2016! Which titles made it this year? And which titles are we going to have to do er…. another year?!

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2015 – APRIL READ – Flour Babies by Anne Fine

Published April 30, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Let it be flour babies. Let chaos reign. When the annual school science fair comes round, Mr Cartwright’s class don’t get to work on the Soap Factory, the Maggot Farm or the Exploding Custard Tins. To their intense disgust they get the Flour Babies – sweet little six-pound bags of flour that must be cared for at all times.

What did I think?:

I’m not very familiar with Anne Fine’s work although I know that she has held the post of Children’s Laureate here in the UK, which is quite an honour. I learned from Chrissi Reads that this was one of her favourite books when she was a child so I was excited to add it to our Kid-Lit list for this year. Flour Babies is set in a boys school and tells the story of class 4C which is composed of children that are not particularly academic and that are perhaps not doing so well at school than their peers. As a result, when it comes round to the annual science fair, some of the more “interesting” topics like making your own soap or exploding custard tins are allocated to the upper grades. 4C and their teacher Mr Cartwright (who has the patience of a saint) are left with the safer topics of: textiles, nutrition, domestic economy, child development or consumer studies or as Mr Cartwright helpfully explains to the class: “sewing, food, housekeeping, babies and so forth or thrift.” 

None of these topics look particularly exciting to the class but when our main character Simon Martin mishears a conversation in the teacher’s staff room he coaxes the other children to agree to the topic of child development. The task for the class in this topic is flour babies, which attempts to teach the children about responsibility and parenthood. Specifically (because there are rules!) each child is given a bag of flour which they should take home with them and treat as if it were a child. It should not be left alone at any point, kept clean and dry, weighed on a weekly basis to check for signs of neglect and each child should keep a daily diary noting their thoughts and experiences with the project. Many of the children become exasperated by the flour babies while others end up making money out of the process by forming a flour babies creche! Simon on the other hand seems to undergo a radical transformation during the experiment, caring for his flour baby impeccably and talking to it constantly. It appears that with the advent of the flour babies comes an in-depth consideration of his own life situation and his absent father who left when he was six weeks old.

I found this novel to be a really sweet and humorous little read, even if some of the language and slang felt a little dated. I would have loved to have had a teacher like Mr Cartwright who put up with a lot from some of the more difficult teenagers in his class but handled each situation calmly and fairly. It was also nice to see his sensitive side when he realises that Simon is working through some difficult issues and deciding to monitor him carefully. I think it also gave out a great message to young adults reading the novel about the responsibilities of having a child and the huge, life-altering changes that it would bring. As a result, I think it’s a great book to teach or read in the classroom, enjoyable and funny with a strong message that at no time feels “preachy.”

For Chrissi’s fab review please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid Lit – the titles for 2015

Published January 3, 2015 by bibliobeth

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This is the third year that my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and myself have set ourselves a Kid-Lit Challenge and this year we decided to shake things up a bit. We have each picked six so-called “classic” works of children’s fiction and we based this around books published before 1980 (yes, it wasn’t so long ago, I know), and six more “modern” children’s stories. We hope you will enjoy our selection.

JANUARY- Five Children And It- E.Nesbit

FEBRUARY- Pollyanna- Eleanor H.Porter

MARCH- Diary of A Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

APRIL- Flour Babies- Anne Fine 

MAY- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- C.S Lewis

JUNE- Velveteen Rabbit- Margery Bianco 

JULY- Gangsta Granny- David Walliams 

AUGUST- The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

SEPTEMBER- Watership Down- Richard Adams

OCTOBER- Goodnight Mister Tom- Michelle Magorian

NOVEMBER- The Class That Went Wild- Ruth Thomas

DECEMBER – The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) – Rick Riordan