Ruth Thomas

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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 – NOVEMBER READ – The Class That Went Wild by Ruth Thomas

Published November 29, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

“Joseph climbed on his desk and began jumping up and down, wild with excitement, screaming at the top of his voice, ‘We’re the greatest! We’re kings of the world! We’re the greatest…!”

Ever since Mrs Lloyd left to have a baby, Class 4L has been impossible! Teacher after teacher has left in tears as Sean and his gang have got rowdier and rowdier. Gillian becomes worried because her twin Joseph has joined the gang and she’s sure he’s in trouble. But when her plan to rescue the situation ends in disaster, it seems nothing can save Class 4L.

Then Joseph goes missing….

What did I think?:

I’m afraid I might not be able to give a completely unbiased review of this book as it’s one of my childhood favourites and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve read and enjoyed it. This story holds so many happy memories for Chrissi and myself and I remember it being one of the books I read to her at night before she went to sleep. Ah yes, even then I was nurturing the little bookworm inside my sister! Of course, there’s always a worry that re-reading a book you loved so much as an adult will ruin some of the magic but I’m happy to report that this was not the case with this story and it was a beautiful trip down memory lane. The author, Ruth Thomas, wrote books that drew on her own experiences as a primary school teacher in London and she wrote convincing and credible characters that children can still relate to today.

As mentioned in the synopsis, this book follows the children from Class 4L, a lively bunch of ten year olds who have recently lost their beloved teacher Mrs Lloyd as she leaves to have a baby. It seems that Mrs Lloyd was the only teacher who had any influence or indeed managed to control the class. The children take out their frustrations at losing her on teacher after teacher as the class spirals into bouts of bad behaviour, led by resident bad boy and “king,” of the class, Sean Adams. One of our main characters, Gillian Rundell is terribly worried about her twin Joseph, the class clown, who has become indoctrinated into Sean’s gang and is getting into trouble both in and out of the classroom.

Joseph is easily influenced and peer pressure plays a huge role which leads to things getting increasingly nasty with little hope of a resolution, despite the efforts of Gillian and her friend Grace to save her vulnerable brother and turn around the behaviour of Class 4L in general. It turns out even a Good Club may not be enough to change things for the class and when Joseph goes missing, Gillian, her family and the headmistress Mrs White are at their wits end about what to do. Come back Mrs Lloyd!

This book was just as magical for me as it was during my childhood and it was so much fun re-discovering passages I had completely forgotten. Who could forget Dippy Dora, the poor old mad woman who lived near the school and provided so much fuel for the children’s teasing? Then there are the specific “bad things,” that Joseph gets involved in that I was surprised to still be shocked by as an adult! It’s such an exciting story that is profoundly moral without ever preaching and I was so pleased to remember the diverse cultural cast of children that really represent Great Britain today which I must applaud the author for, especially as it was written in the late 1980’s. I’m sure I will be reading this book again at some point as it has so many important messages that are still relevant today and it’s a perfect book to read to children. A worthy addition to our kid-lit shelves, it’s reminded me that the author, Ruth Thomas won The Guardian Children’s Fiction Award for her first novel, The Runaways in 1988. Hmm, a potential contender for Kid-Lit 2016 Chrissi?

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Ruth Thomas 1927-2011

Image from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/sep/23/ruth-thomas

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