Gamer by Chris Bradford

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Gamer by Chris Bradford

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: An all action, dyslexia-friendly book that reads like a video game.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 102 Date: November 2012
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781121382

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Gamer is written for the child who would rather be in front of a console than reading book. Even the cover depicts action with a scene that changes to depict fighting if you tilt the book. This isn't to say it lacks depth. This has a well developed plot, and very good characterisation, but the action never stops. It is perfect for children who are used to the high adrenaline experience of a video game, but it has plenty to offer the child who loves books as well.

The story takes place within a few years of 2030 when an unknown viral agent has decimated the adult population but left the children untouched. Most of the children are orphans, but as rumours spread that children could be carriers of the virus, many more were simply abandoned. The few adults left to live out their lives indoors in fear of contagion, devoting every free moment to the internet. The biggest online hit is a virtual world called Virtual Combat, and this game provides the starving orphans with their only hope of escaping the streets. A van roams the streets and gives children a meal and a chance to play the game. If they win, they are selected to live in an orphanage, with clean beds and plenty of food. All they have to do in return is play video games. But the old adage about things which seem too good to be true comes into play here. Scott has been on the streets since his parents died. He hasn't quite given into the dog eat dog world he lives in and retains some kindness and concern for others, making him a very likeable character. Being chosen as Virtual Combat tester is a dream come true for him - but when his best friend vanishes - he begins to wonder if there is more to the orphanage than meets the eye. Why are so many children needed - and where do they go?

This is an excellent story and both of my children enjoyed this. It has a message for children as well about becoming to wrapped up in video games, to the point of leaving the real world behind. The internet and video games can be a good way to relax and unwind, but they shouldn't become our life ... or in this case death. Gamer is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is specially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, with a high interest level but a low reading level.

Barrington Stoke also has some of the best stories we have come across for older children. These are books you just cannot put down. My own child does not suffer from dyslexia, but he has commented on how much easier it is to read the books with this style of print. The double spacing and frequent breaks mean he does not lose his place in the book, and makes reading a far more enjoyable experience. These books can literally be life changing for a child who is struggling to learn to read, but they make reading easier for all young children, whether they have disabilities or not. This book is listed as a reading age of 9 and an interest age of teen. This book is not illustrated, and just a tiny bit more difficult than most of the Barrington Stoke books for teens, but my eight year old was able to read it with ease. As far as interest level - I really enjoyed this myself and very wish they would offer a sequel to this. I think this would suit children anywhere from 7 - 16.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy:

Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson

The Way of the Warrior (Young Samurai) by Chris Bradford

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