Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku

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Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: An ancient Norse myth brought to life in an easy to read, dyslexia friendly book.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781122211

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I grew up with tales of the heroes of Asgard, and this story was always a firm favourite, but today's children are more likely to know Thor from The Avengers. This book is sure to interest any young comic book fans, and the illustrations will certainly help with this, but it is still faithful to the original myth, and in my mind would count as literature, rather than just a fun read - but I wouldn't tell the children that. This is an excellent retelling of Thor's visit to Utgarda - Loki ( the giant king's hall) from Prose Edda a collection of Norse poetry thought to have been compiled by the Icelandic poet Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century.

This is one of the best known tales of the Thunder God, in which he seeks out the Giant King to avert war between the giants and Asgard. He is joined on this journey by his half brother, Loki the Trickster, and two young humans he has taken as servants. Thor and companions set about a series of challenges to prove their strength - and fail miserably at every one. It is only upon leaving the Giant's hall that the king reveals his secret. Thor has indeed impressed him as the challenges had been impossible to overcome. Among the challenges was a race against thought, an eating contest against fire, drinking the sea, and wrestling with old age, although Thor and his companions were unaware of the true nature of their challengers.

This book has enough action and adventure for any comic fan, but it also has enough twists to keep the more thoughtful child intrigued. Even a very young child can grasp the nature of the trick that has been played on Thor and have a good laugh at his frustration. I enjoyed this story just as much as the versions of this I had read as a child. I believe the author has captured the spirit of the story perfectly, but has retold in a manner more easily understood and enjoyed by younger readers. It is wonderful to see the old myths being enjoyed by a new generation, and for children to see something of Thor and Loki other than their roles in The Avengers.

Thor and the Master of Magic 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 especially 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 8 and an interest age of 9+. I feel that this book could appeal to a very wide age range. My sons, ages 5 and 8, were both able to understand and enjoy this. I found this quite enjoyable myself, and feel this would suit readers of almost any age. This would be ideal for comic book fans, or children who loved The Avengers film to see where the character Thor originated from, as well as for anyone with an interest in Norse mythology. It will fit in perfectly with our unit study on Vikings later this year, and would be an excellent story for any child studying Vikings in school.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend:

Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer

A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell

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Buy Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Siku at Amazon.com.

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