The First Hunter by Robert Swindells

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The First Hunter by Robert Swindells

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A story from the stone age illustrates how difficult life was and that even the weakest member of the family can have a good idea. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 58 Date: November 2016
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781126011

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Tan and his family are scavengers - stone age scavengers. When a big cat makes a kill one of the family - the brand man - dashes in and frightens the big cat off its kill with a firy brand and one of the others snatches some of the meat for the family. If they don't get the meat then it's down to roots, insects or lizards. Some of the family are concerned about Wid, who grew, but his brain didn't and they don't see why they should hunt for meat to keep the boy alive. They're all for leaving him to the wolves. Tan won't have it and for the moment Wid is safe.

The way they've been getting meat is dangerous and one day Dip, the brand man, is killed and it looks as though the family is going to go hungry. But then Wid has an idea. It's an idea for a toy, but Tan can see how it can be developed to make their hunting safer. The book does show death - both of man and animals - but it's within the context of the story and there's no unnecessary detail given. I liked too that although Wid might not be one of the hunters of the family he did have a contribution to make that would have a long-term beneficial effect on how the family lived. It pays never to write anyone off!

This book's dyslexia friendly. So, what makes the book dyslexia friendly? Well, firstly Barrington Stoke have designed a special font where each character is distinct and pulls the reader on to read the next word. It's printed on an off-white paper, which reduces the glare which can distract some readers and the paper is substantial enough to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The spacing between words and lines has been carefully judged to give the best reading experience and the text has not been justified as this can mean that readers get lost on the page. The book has clearly defined chapters to give natural rest breaks and it's not just the reader who benefits from that - many parents and carers feel the same way. It's not just people with dyslexia who benefit from these ingenious changes - most young readers will find the books easier to read and more enjoyable. I'm just about into my dotage and recently I've been suffering from eye problems - and Barrington Stoke books are the ones which I can read most easily.

There's a super readable sticker on the back of the book - don't worry, it peels off really easily - and there's something else you'll find there too. Right at the side of the bar code (you've got to know where it is or you might not spot it) you'll find this: 'RA8IA9+'. Once you know about it, that tells you that the book is suitable for anyone with a reading age of eight but the content - the interest age - will appeal to those aged nine and over, so it's going to be great for the reluctant reader or the ones who are just that bit slower about picking up the idea as well as those suffering from dyslexia.

Children who like this book might also enjoy The Boy and the Globe by Tony Bradman and Tom Morgan-Jones and The Seal's Fate (Colour Conker) by Eoin Colfer and Victor Ambrus.

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Buy The First Hunter by Robert Swindells at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The First Hunter by Robert Swindells at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The First Hunter by Robert Swindells at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The First Hunter by Robert Swindells at


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