Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield

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Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A reassuring story which tweens will appreciate with the bonus of being dyslexia friendly too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: June 2014
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 978-1781123751

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Morgan was just thirteen when she was sent to her aunt's ranch in the Rockies for the summer. It was all a bit alien to her - I mean she was a city girl from Chicago and she was going to have to get on with horses. It's not long though before she realises that she has a real affinity with horses and ponies and develops a special bond with a terrified wild mustang. It's Morgan who rescues the animal when it's trapped in barbed wire and calms it sufficiently to bring it into shelter.

It's a lovely story, with a delicately understated relationship between Morgan and her mother. There's nothing actually wrong - she's not mistreated in any way - but Lacey has other things on her mind (she and Morgan's dad have just split up) and she's just not that maternal. Right at the point where Morgan needs support, Lacey is unlikely to be the one to supply it. It doesn't immediately look as though she's going to get it on the ranch either - it's busy and a city girl standing around is only going to get in the way. The assimilation into the life of the ranch is gradual and believable - as is the way that Morgan find reserves of courage and bravery in herself.

It's a great book on a number of levels. Most children going into their teens are going to encounter a sense of alienation and there's a subtle message in this story that you will be able to cope, that you will become a valuable part of something bigger than yourself. Many an established reader will be grateful for that message, but there's more to this book. It's from Barrington Stoke and is dyslexia friendly. The paper on which the story is printed is thick so that there's no chance of whatever's on the reverse showing through, which can be a distraction. For the same reason the paper has a matt finish - shiny paper can make reading more difficult - and it has a creamy-yellow colouring which is easier on the eye. The font - one specifically designed by Barrington Stoke - is double spaced. Even people who are not dyslexic - and particularly reluctant readers - will find that all these factors make reading easier.

This book has a reading age of eight and an interest age of eight to twelve and you could probably extend this into the early teens. But are early teens and upper tweens going to want to be seen reading the book? Well, there's a 'dyslexia friendly' sticker on the cover which peels off easily and there is then nothing to distinguish this from a book published by a mass-market publisher. The cover is stunning and the author is well known and respected. What's not to like? I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

With a female protagonist the book is more likely to appeal to girls but boys who could do with a little boost with their reading might enjoy How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden which also looks at the subject of bravery. For more about horses - this time a very small one - have a look at The Smallest Horse in the World by Jeremy Strong and Scoular Anderson.

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Buy Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bright Star by Jenny Oldfield at


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