Saturday 12 January 2013

Stories for 6 Year Olds

Stories for 6 Year Olds edited by Linsay Knight, illustrated by Tom Jellett (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781742756646
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

To continue Linsay Knight’s short story anthology, here’s the next edition, Stories for 6 Year Olds.

‘… we have thought carefully about reading requirements for this age group, such as ratio of text to illustration and type size,’ says Linsay Knight in the forward of the anthology.

Tom Jellett continues his black-line illustrations that add context and clues to the stories, and the font style and size is different for the 6-year-old readers, with a little less white space on each page.

Robots, gnomes, teeth, bunyips, imps and goblins are some of the subjects in the 11 stories presented. Some stories are written in first person, while others are in third person, to vary the reading experience.

There’s a twist on the classic, The Ugly Duckling, with Mark Svendsen’s, The Ugly Bunyip. Robin Klein’s snooty robot, Parker-Hamilton, keeps his family’s house so clean that ‘the curtains hung like sheets of glass …’ and what does happen to all the ‘wobbly, wiggly, joggly, jiggly’ teeth in Dianne Bates’ story, that the tooth fairy collects?

Imagery enlivens the stories, with words like ‘twanged’ and ‘kick-swish’. Names add to the traits of the characters such as Ms Grizzly – the meanest deputy principal in the world, and Mrs Macgillacuddy, who dabs snails with whiteout.

There are slightly mythological stories such as Michael Pryor’s Lucky Jack, who is the seventh son of the seventh son, and the fairy tale-ish The Old Woman and the Imp by Sophie Masson.

The last story is Victor Kelleher’s Goblin at the Beach written in nine short chapters, which well prepares the reader for the next anthology in the series.

This anthology makes great holiday reading, or plain great reading to draw the new reader into the worlds created by some of the biggest names in Australian children’s literature. Okay – which Aussie author supported his writing habit by working as a supermarket-trolley boy and shelf-stacker? Find out lots of interesting titbits by reading the biographies of the eleven famous authors at the back of the book.

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