Cheesemares by Ross Collins

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Cheesemares by Ross Collins

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: Ever since Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol blamed his restless dreams on a bit of cheese there has been an urban myth that cheese could fuel nightmares. Science has added to this by suggesting that tryptophan, an amino acid present in cheese may induce sleep. Ross Collins seems to have taken this basic idea and run away with it in on a madcap adventure that gives the term mad cow a whole new meaning.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: February 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781121917

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Every time Hal eats cheese he has terrible nightmares. Hal's mother suggests drastic measures - no more cheese before bed. Hal loves his cheese though so he sets off on a quest for clues to solve the Case of the Cheesemares. He is accompanied by his canine sidekick, Rufus. He stumbles upon his first clue very quickly. All of the cheese that has been giving him bad dreams has come from Contessa Von Udderstein's (not at all evil) House of Cheese in Bovina. Hal follows the trail to a spooky castle ruled by the evil Contessa Von Udderstein, a very mad cow who looks quite a bit like a bovine version of Cruella De Ville. The irate cow wants revenge on humans for stealing their milk for years (it's a good thing no one mentioned hamburgers or roast beef) Hal and Rufus must escape from the clutches of the mad cattle and make cheese safe to eat again. It's a good thing cows don't have hands to clutch with.

This is a fun story with hilarious illustrations, but I do feel the interest age on this book is a bit limited. My four year old enjoyed this, my eight year old did not. I do not feel that this has the ability to appeal to as wide an age rage as most of these books, and I would limit this to ages 4 - 6. If I were rating this as a read aloud story, I would probably give it five stars, but because I feel that many children will have lost interest in the story by the time they are old enough to read this independently I've knocked on star off my rating. The overlap between reading ability and interest in this book is narrow, and to get the most use from this book will require careful timing, but even if the child is reading this when they are slightly past the ideal interest age for it - it is still ever so much more fun than most books designed to support literacy.

Cheesemaresis part of an exciting new series from Barrington Stoke called Little Gems. Barrington Stoke started out quite small, created to fill need for real books for struggling readers. Patience Thomson, a former headmistress of a school for children with learning difficulties wanted to create books with real stories, that older children would want to read, and that dyslexic, struggling or reluctant readers could read. The result was truly ground breaking series of books with a high interest age level, but a low reading level, or hi-lo books. 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. Although created as dyslexia friendly, this format makes reading easier for all children. My own son has often commented on how much easier it is to read these books, making reading into a truly enjoyable experience for young children.

Little Gems books are also dyslexia friendly, but these are designed for a younger age group. This series is designed to support children taking their first steps to independent reading, whether they are dyslexic or not. The easy to read text, high quality illustrations and exceptionally high interest stories give these books a wide interest range, with a relatively low reading age. Little Gems have a reading of age 6. They are recommended for children from 5-8 with average reading abilities, and ages 7-10 for struggling readers. I also feel these make excellent read aloud books for children even younger, and my four year old enjoys these books as well.

If this book appeals then you might also like to hae a look at:

Mr Birdsnest and the House Next Door by Julia Donaldson and Hannah Shaw

Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins

Buy Cheesemares by Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cheesemares by Ross Collins at

Buy Cheesemares by Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Cheesemares by Ross Collins at


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