Sunday 13 January 2013

Stories for 7 Year Olds

Stories for 7 Year Olds edited by Linsay Knight, illustrated by Tom Jellett (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781742756622
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

This is the third instalment in the Stories for … anthology series. For seven-year-old readers, editor Linsay Knight says, ‘these stories take readers into worlds beyond the familiar – particularly into fantastical and humorous worlds.’

The lime green cover is the colour of grass and the great outdoors, and I can imagine a young reader sitting under a tree or spread out on a rug, laughing and turning the pages of this selection of stories.

With more words to the page and three black-line illustrations per story, the seven-year-olds are eased into a more grown-up style of reading. The 11 stories have slightly more complicated language and layered plots, rather than single-line plots.

There are sub-headings, dot points and pieces of poetry scattered throughout the stories. Some are short stories and some are written in chapters. There’s lots of colloquial language to connect with, such as ‘Mum’s gone mental about food,’ in Morris Gleitzman’s, Think Big.

The concept of allusion is found in Mr Jonah’s Whale by Vashti Farrer, and a sense of irony is gleaned in Paul Jennings’ Snookle, where readers will find they should be careful what they wish for!

There are new genres introduced, like Deb Abela’s sci-fi story, My Friend Wilbur, and the understanding of legend comes across in JB Thomas’ How the Crow’s Feathers turned Black.

We meet Alice-Miranda’s new friend, Millie, which provides an introduction to Jacqueline Harvey’s series of the same name.

There are lots of laughs as Derek learns to ride a surfboard in a swimming pool and African Itching Ants run amok as a guest author plays one too many practical jokes on the kids at assembly. One lovely touch is the main character Daisy, who, as a shy girl finds her voice and saves the day.

As with the rest of the series of Stories for …, you can read about each of the authors at the back of the book and see where else your favourite stories have been published such is the quality of the inclusions.

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