Monthly Archives: May 2020

Mrs Parton – Running on the Roof of the World

‘Running on the Roof of the World’ by Jess Butterworth.

Not my usual choice of book but the blurb sounded exciting so I thought I’d give it a go!

Tash the young heroine of the book and her best friend Sam are travelling across mountains to try to save her Mum and Dad who had been seized by soldiers in her homeland of Tibet.
Loved this book. Some sad moments. Plenty of adventure and suspense.

I would recommend this book to years 5 and 6.

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Mrs Parton

Mrs Parton – Truckers

‘Truckers’ by Terry Pratchett

I first read this book about 30 years ago and really loved it! It’s the 1st book of a total of three but I never read the other two ‘Diggers’ and ‘Wings’ I bought this book for Lily my daughter – who didn’t read it so I thought I’d read it again! I’m so glad I did it’s about the adventures of lots of ‘Nomes’ as The author calls them and their challenge to find their way home. Masklin is very Brave and clever and finds himself someone who all the other ‘Nomes’ look up to to solve the problem!!! I’m so glad I’ve now re- read this book and I’m intending to buy the next two books so I can find out what happens in the end!!!🙂

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Mrs Parton

Ibrahim – Year 3 – The Beast of Buckingham Palace

In the last couple of weeks I have finished 4 Roald Dahl books. “Matilda, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” and “The Magic Finger and Witches”. The best book was The Magic Finger. Now I have started reading this novel called THE BEAST OF BUCKINGHAM PALACE. It has 464 pages and in one day, I have finished 72 pages. The story is about life and death and a boy called Alfred who fought with a big golden beast. It is full of adventure and suspense. I will tell you more about this story in the next email.

Have a good day!

Ibrahim (year 3)

Thomas – Reception – Nibbles

For bedtime tonight Thomas chose one of his favourite books Nibbles The Dinosaur Guide by Emma Yarlett. I can see why he chose it now, it was fantastic! It was full of drama and few scary bits where we thought Nibbles was not going to survive. We would definitely recommend this book not just for the great story but it’s also got interesting dinosaur facts all the way through the book📚.

Recommended Reading

In these strange times, reading offers escapism and comfort to many. As it is no longer easy to get hold of new books we can look to the internet to support us with this. The websites listed below are my personal favourites for accessing books online. There is something for every age and most of them are available at no cost. I hope you are managing to stay safe and that this provides a little support.

Miss Williams

https://storyweaver.org.in/stories
A website containing over 20,000 stories for children to read! All texts are beautifully illustrated with translations available into different languages. Most books come with teaching points, questions and notes for parents. Highly recommended and suitable for all ages.

https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/9-12/book-hopes/
A beautiful online book with contributions from more than 100 children’s writers and illustrators. This book is completely free and is an extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures with contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators. Recommended as an independent reader for Y3-6 but contains many stories for parents to read aloud to any age.

https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page/
Oxford Owls have a good selection of their books available as free e-readers. You need to register but they can be accessed at no cost. There is a good range of fiction and non-fiction. This is mainly recommended for younger readers as they offer the same colour book bands as we use in school. Suitable for Reception – Year 3.

https://collins.co.uk/pages/big-cat-ebooks
Instructions to access more book-banded e-books. Titles range from red level up to lime level and cover fiction and non-fiction. Suitable for Reception – Year 3.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/
Amazon have a range of free books for Kindle and many more titles at less than £1. Suitable for all ages.

https://www.bl.uk/childrens-books/themes/all-activities
This website has popular book related activities. There are good ideas to encourage children to think like authors and illustrators. Suitable for all ages.

https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/
A great website which includes everything from authors reading aloud their own books to texts for your child to read. Suitable for all ages.

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/have-some-fun/
This website has texts read aloud by authors, tips from illustrators and book recommendations. Suitable for all ages.

https://stories.audible.com/start-listen Suitable for all ages to listen to stories.

Part 12: The Only Girl in School

Frankie found herself slightly distracted by the lettering on Billy’s shirt. She was sure she could make out ‘BCFC’ but it was all a bit of a squiggle, and didn’t resemble any football shirt she’d ever seen. “Hold on, what’s wrong with me?” she thought, realising that the state of the boy’s outfit should have been the least of her concerns. She looked up at Billy’s face and saw that he was smiling nervously, and extending his hand, ready for Frankie to shake. “Err, are you mad?” came her response, “Not being funny, but I don’t know where you’ve been!” Billy dropped his hand by his side, and Frankie could almost feel the heat radiating from his face as his cheeks reddened.

“Ah Frankie, no need to worry yourself. This is a virus-free zone! You might catch a cold off someone, but other than that, you can rest easy.” Spike’s words were gentle, and Frankie instantly felt guilty for making Billy feel so embarrassed. She smiled kindly at the boy and started again. “Pleased to meet you, Billy,” she said, extending her own hand, which was happily clasped by the boy, his face breaking into a wide grin. “Hello,” he said, “I’m so happy to see someone apart from my dad and Miss Taylor. No offence to my friend here!” Billy looked at Spike, and the dog nodded his head in a “none taken” gesture.

Frankie felt an instant connection to this boy, although she couldn’t for the life of her work out why. He was a lot taller than Frankie, with long milk-white legs and equally pale arms, which he waved around for no apparent reason as he spoke. His hair was a reddish blonde, its curls sitting awkwardly on his neck, some parts naturally spiralling, others sticking out at comical angles. His face had now faded back to its normal colour – almost translucent in its lightness, but peppered from forehead to chin with freckles. It was the sort of face which readily showed its owner’s happiness, as it was doing now, but ever prepared to retreat back into a default setting of awkwardness and worry.

“Thing is though, Bob, I didn’t know where you’d gone to! I searched everywhere and in the end had to give up when my bike went over some glass and I couldn’t get round the estate. Well, I could if I’d walked, but I was pretty fed up by then.”

“Bob? Who’s Bob?” asked Frankie, although it seemed obvious that Billy was talking about Spike. Spike – stroke – Bob looked from one child to the other, and sighed deeply. “I think it’s time to explain a few things, isn’t it? If I could just work out where to begin….tell you what, why don’t you get to know each other first? I’ll fill in the gaps afterwards. I mean, talking’s more a human thing isn’t it? You’ve had loads more practice!”

So although Frankie felt a bit cheated, (especially as Spike chose that moment to become more dog, and ran off mumbling something about needing to chase a squirrel off the playground), she liked the idea of having someone else to chat to – even if he was yet another boy. Her latest friend seemed equally keen, and together they wandered through the remaining classrooms and out towards the playground. Billy led the way, walking over to an obviously new and as yet unpainted bench, which faced away from the Woodland Walk…or more precisely, where the Woodland Walk should have been. In its place was a dense mass of overgrown hedges, the countless shades of green broken only by dots of white bindweed. Frankie followed him, her mind trying to imagine where the chicken house would fit into this leafy tangle, and hoping that she wasn’t about to hear the terrified clucking of hens, desperate to escape the darkness.

They both sat down and began to talk. It was surprisingly easy, Frankie thought, probably because there was so much they could learn from each other that might start to unravel the mystery of a talking dog, underground tunnels and unplanned time travel. Billy was as fed up as Frankie. He was new to the area, and although his mum and dad tried to help him fit in, buying him a Birmingham City football strip turned out to be the wrong decision in a neighbourhood of Villa fans. He was due to start school here on Monday, and was dreading it. Being the son of one of the teachers was bad enough, but then finding out he was in his dad’s class…well, that was the final straw. After that, he spent most of his time on his bike, but even that was interrupted by having to come to school every day, what with his mum working and his dad having to put in the hours sorting out his classroom, and having meetings about the “grand opening” on Monday.

“Seems a bit over the top doesn’t it?” remarked Frankie. “I mean we have assembly and everything first day back, and Mrs Butterworth smiles a lot and walks around the classes a bit, but it’s hardly a ‘grand’ occasion!”

“No, I get that,” replied Billy, “but this really is a big deal. It’s the first day ever on Monday. The school’s brand new! You mustn’t be from round here – you would have noticed something. They must have been building it all year.”

It suddenly dawned on Frankie that Billy had no idea how complicated this all was. No idea at all. As far as he was concerned, Spike had just made friends with the two of them, and then introduced them to each other in the hope that they became friends. Clearly Billy had some idea that the whole thing was a bit strange, especially the communication with a dog who answered in perfect English, and even started up his own conversations when the mood took him. However, in Frankie’s world, a chatting pet was becoming the least odd thing going on. How was she going to begin to tell Billy that she wasn’t actually born at the moment? How would she explain a tunnel which took her back in time, when she had no clue what that was all about herself? No wonder Spike took off like that, she thought. Of course he had no words for what had happened. Just as she began to think that it might have been better if she had continued to work on the unicorn in her picture and left the black paint well alone, her thoughts were interrupted by Billy. “Frankie! I asked if you lived round here. You drifted off for a bit there.”

“I…I do. Well kind of…I mean, I’m wondering if my house is even built yet!” As her words echoed a thought she didn’t even know she had until it was spoken, Frankie wondered later whether her sudden tears were due to panic or sadness, or a very unpleasant mixture of both. It didn’t matter really – now they were here, they tumbled freely down her cheeks, and despite her attempts to wipe them away, new drops kept spilling. As Billy was about to ask her what the matter was, and consider whether a bit of a hug might be the right thing to do, a familiar voice resounded across the playground, and Billy was spared further embarrassment. In truth, he wasn’t a natural hugger.

The voice was loud but the words unclear, due to its owner trying to grab the children’s attention whilst carrying what looked like a very large sheet of paper between his teeth. As Spike ran towards them, the paper flapped up and down to the rhythm of his steps, and it looked like he was attempting some kind of land speed or flight record. The sight made Frankie chuckle softly, and as she could always depend on her laughter to be contagious, Billy duly caught it, and the children’s shoulders began to shake with mirth. Spike stopped in his tracks, a look of irritation appearing on his usually cheery face, and he sullenly dropped the paper to the ground.

“Well, in your own words, Frankie – how rude! There I was, rushing to your side when it was all getting too much for you, and there you are – making fun of me – again!”
“Oh Spike, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings!” Frankie responded, but the top was off the bottle now, and the laughter kept pouring out to replace her tears. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

Not being one to hold grudges, Spike smiled back at her, apology accepted, and proceeded to pick the paper up once again and trot over to the bench, his speed well and truly modified. “I didn’t know where to start, like I said, so I thought this might start things for me. Come on, take a look.”

The two children knelt on the ground beside the sheet of paper, which Spike had patted down with his paws to get rid of the ‘wings’. He sat on a corner to keep it in place, and just as he was about to speak, Billy leant forward to study the sheet more closely, and called out, “Hey! That’s my picture!”

Spike nodded wisely and once again, opened his mouth to speak, only to be interrupted again, this time by Frankie. “That’s quite like my picture Billy. The one I did when…on…oh never mind – I did a picture. Like this, with a rainbow like that. Only mine had a unicorn, well, it did and then it turned into a dog, well I turned it into a dog, and then, well, it turned back, and…”
“Babbling, Frankie,” came Spike’s voice, at last squeezing in a couple of words, but instantly regretting them being the rather ill-mannered sort. He cleared his throat, looked at Frankie sheepishly, by way of an apology, and at last began. “It’s all about sadness and then hope. That’s what brings you two together, what you have in common. That’s why I’m here.”

Mrs Parton – Arabian Nights

‘Arabian Nights’ published by Usborne
A collection of mystical stories set in the ancient worlds of Persia, Arabia, Egypt, India and Greece. Stories that have been told and retold since the eighth century!!!!!
I’ve always remembered reading and enjoying ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ from when I was a child and was fascinated with it- so I decided to read some of the other colourful stories. Some include, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp which most of you will know the story of. The Flying Horse, The Fisherman and the Genie and lots lots more… well worth a read beautiful illustrations and easy to read.

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Mrs Parton

Mrs Knipe – The Five Minute Garden

I seem to be reading a few non-fiction books at the moment. This book was the last book I bought just before we all went into lockdown. It’s a really useful book for a novice gardener like me! It is split into months and gives you lists of jobs to do as well as interesting information and tips. It is also beautifully illustrated and the kind of book that you just like to hold and look through. What non-fiction books are you reading?

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Mrs Knipe

Part 11: The Only Girl in School

If Frankie had been holding anything in her hands, whatever it was, breakable or not, would have dropped from her grasp with a dramatic crash to the floor. Instead, her hands balled to a pair of fists and she felt her eyes well with tears of genuine fear. This wasn’t an adventure any more. This was a nightmare trap, in a time before her mum was born, let alone Frankie herself. Looking around, she took in details that had been overlooked at first glance. Varnished wooden chairs were tucked under matching desks, ready for unknown groups of children to begin their learning. Heavy fabric curtains framed the windows, their sunflower patterns sitting on a background of the murky brown which seemed to dominate everything in this time period. The display boards, although clear of children’s work, were covered in part by instructional posters…the alphabet here, school rules there, and a list of jobs on a grid: milk monitors, prefects, dinner servers and register collectors. As her eyes moved to an oversized map of the United Kingdom, hanging from a picture rail and weighted in position by a solid metal bar across its base, she felt warm breath on her leg, and realised with some comfort, that Spike was once again at her side.

“Well, that’s not changed much, has it Frankie?” came a voice clearly intended to reassure the frightened girl. “I mean, we’re still on there, Queen Elizabeth’s still on the throne and as far as I know, Birmingham’s still right there in the middle of England!”

The words didn’t help. Not one tiny bit. Frankie’s fear turned to frustration as she gave her reply. “We are nowhere near where I want to be! We are in a history book Spike, and I want to get out of it!”

“We will Frankie,” the little dog insisted. “We absolutely will. I never dreamt you’d feel like this, really I didn’t. I’m sorry, I should have thought. But as I said before, trust me and keep trusting me. I won’t let you down, I promise. Come on, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

“Oh right! Like Mr and Mrs Peculiar over there? Yes, well, they loved meeting me, didn’t they? Couldn’t stop chatting and asking me how I was! Face it Spike, we’re on our own here!”
Frankie pointed at the strangers who by now had moved to the back of the classroom to sort through a collection of crayons and pencils. They continued to talk and laugh, their voices as feeble and muffled as before. “No, not them! They really have no idea we’re here, bless them. Nice folk though – you’d like them – although that one seems a bit on the strict side from what I’ve heard.” Spike pointed at the woman, who by now had cast off her clunky shoes, and was padding round in her tan coloured stocking feet.

“What you’ve heard? What? Spike, how do you know so much about this place? I only painted you yesterday, or today, or I don’t know … forty years in the future!” Frankie thought hard, desperately trying to come up with a number line in her head to work out exactly how far back in time they were. She decided forty years was near enough, and quite satisfied, folded her arms and looked questioningly at her friend. Spike let out a giggle, but as Frankie flashed a warning look, he realised it was too soon for laughter. He quickly changed the subject. “Follow me Frankie. You won’t be disappointed. Let’s escape the big people.”

Frankie sighed – a sound with which Spike was getting more and more familiar as time went on (and back as it turned out). But there seemed nothing else for it. Stay here and be ignored by teachers from the distant past, or venture forth and trust Spike to deliver on his promise? Frankie opted to follow the eager dog, who clearly presumed that she would do just that, as he had already taken off through the year four classroom. “Wait for me, Spike! How rude!”

Although Spike was determined to cover ground quickly, and had no intention of taking in the changed landscape of the school, Frankie was now in her own classroom and was keen to see what was different. Quite simply, but not unexpectedly, everything had changed. The room was a replica of the year five classroom, with the very odd exception of a bicycle, propped up against the blackboard, its rear, exceptionally large tyre completely flat and clearly not fit for use. Otherwise, it was gleaming red and shiny with newness, its wide handlebars hovering over a very small front wheel, and a saddle which looked more like a small leather chair. Frankie had seen bikes like this on the internet, and as she struggled to think of what they were called, she spotted the black lettering on the down tube: Chopper.

Who did the bike belong to? Frankie pondered on this and peered back through the door window at the Strangers of Year Five. “No chance,” she thought, “not with those shoes and that tie!” For the first time, in what seemed like days, she started to giggle, and as she covered her mouth to stop herself, she remembered that she was in her own little soundproof bubble. It was a much-needed relief. Frankie threw her head back and began to laugh hysterically at the thought of adult legs pedalling furiously on the contraption.

By the time Spike had doubled back from the year three classroom to see what the joke was, Frankie was practically on the floor, her tears this time happy and childish. “Have you seen this Spike? I was just thinking…ha ha ha ha! …of that lady….ha ha ha!…with her big heels and her … ha ha ha! …knees knocking on her chin! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Spike looked down at Frankie, who by now was rolling helplessly on the carpet, and he wondered if it would be appropriate to give her just a little tap on the side of the face to help her back to sensibility. But actually, he liked this side of her, and any fear or anger she was showing only minutes ago had evaporated and been replaced by sheer glee. “That is really funny Frankie. Ha ha! Just the thought of it! No, Billy would never let that happen! I reckon if it did, that’s what caused the puncture!” As Frankie’s last laugh ran short of air, she paused and drew in a far more serious breath. She stopped rolling, and lay on her back, looking at the ceiling with its series of fluorescent strip lights. “Who’s Billy, Spike?”

“Oh he’s my other friend! The one I wanted you to meet! Matter of fact, that’s his dad in there, you know, the one with the bad tie!” Frankie sat up suddenly, her back straight and rigid, the remnants of her laughter just tear tracks on her cheeks. “How have you got another friend, Spike? I’m not being funny or anything, but I painted you and it’s just been you and me and … and …all that stuff out there,” said Frankie, nodding her head in the general direction of the windows.

“Um…right. It’s a tricky one this, but he was actually my friend before you were. I mean it makes sense, doesn’t it, what with this being forty four years ago and everything?”
Frankie frowned, partly because her maths had been out by four years, and that was most annoying, and partly because, no, it didn’t make sense – none of this madness did. But if she was honest, the frown was mainly due to a pang of jealousy which had entered her crowded mind. Spike was her creation and her friend, and she didn’t know if she was ready to share him – least of all with someone who had apparently been there first. Who was this Billy? How could he have met Spike? How could Spike be two places in time at once? The questions, if she had let them, would have kept coming all day and night, but questions without answers soon lost Frankie’s interest, and she chose instead to shake her head and stand up.

As she got to her feet, Frankie noticed the fibres of the new carpet clinging to her tee shirt and shorts, and began to pick at them, the nylon static crackling as she did. Occupied with removing the unwelcome bits of yellow fluff which added nothing to her outfit, Frankie didn’t notice the sight or sound of the door swinging open. So as she looked up to find that she and Spike now had company, in the form of a boy dressed in a blue and white football strip, she physically jumped, her eyes wide and her mouth inhaling a short, sharp breath.
“Frankie, I’d like you to meet Billy,” came Spike’s voice, “the only boy in school.”