|Cherry Green Story Queen by Annie Dalton and Charlie Adler|
|Category: Dyslexia Friendly|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: A modern day fable combines elements of The Arabian Nights and The Allegory of The Long Spoons.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: April 2013|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd|
At first glance, I expected this to be a fairly typical girl's story for tweens. I certainly was not expecting a story of such beauty or depth. This is a very enjoyable read, but is it much more than light fiction. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to share the book with my sons, but I had to be very careful to hide the cover. Being typical boys, they are not going to want to hear a story that looks so much like a girl's story. This book has something in common with The Arabian Nights, Tales of 1,001 Nights. In fact it shares a direct link with the ancient book. But this story will only give us three nights of magic. Still three nights might just be enough to change the lives of six children in foster care. This also shares the basic message of The Allegory of the Long Spoons a well known parable by the Rabbi Haim which has passed into the folk lore of many cultures. The basic message is that the difference between heaven and hell is not so much a difference in physical circumstances, but rather is the result of how we treat one another.
The circumstances young Mia finds herself in are certainly less than ideal. Her mother is in hospital, she is living in a foster home with five other children, but they all keep their distances from each other. All except Kyle that is. Everyone wishes Kyle would keep his distance as he never misses a chance to make the others lives more miserable than they already are. Mia spends most of her time wishing - wishing things could go back to the way the were, wishing she could live happily ever after. When Juno convinces her that her wish is too selfish to come true, she decides to wish for everyone to be happy, even Kyle. Juno and Billy join in and no sooner have they finished their wish when a new child arrives, Cherry Green. When Cherry announces that she has a magic book, then Mia, Juno and Billy expect all their dreams to come true. But this isn't a book of spells, it is just a book of stories, but a very special one, which once belonged to a great aunt of Cherry's centuries ago. This is the very book from which the stories in 1,0001 Arabian Nights sprang. These are magical stories that draw the listener into another world and there is a special story for everyone - even Kyle. It isn't exactly a happily ever after ending, the children are still in foster care when it ends but instead of each child facing everything alone, they have been transformed into a family. Having someone to care and share your troubles makes all the difference in the world.
Cherry Green Story Queen 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. This book has plenty of high quality illustrations as well, which can really help children to visualise the story. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, but at a much lower reading level than the interest level. This book is listed as reading age of eight and an interest age of eight to eleven. I would stretch this in both directions. My four year old enjoyed the story, and I found a lot of value in it myself. I would recommend this from ages six to fourteen.
I really would have preferred a more boy friendly cover on this. I understand this story must have been intended for girls, but I think this book has such a beautiful message, I'd like to see more accessible to boys as well as girls. My sons did enjoy listening to it, but were a bit horrified when they finally got a glimpse of the cover. The cover is so sparkly and girly - I can't see any boy wanting to be caught dead reading this. I can't bring myself to rate down for this though - this one of the most touching books I have ever come across. It conveys hope and friendship. It also teaches that when we make the world a better place for others, it makes it nicer for us to live in as well. As an added bonus, it shows something of the magic of a truly good story as well.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Cherry Green Story Queen by Annie Dalton and Charlie Adler at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Cherry Green Story Queen by Annie Dalton and Charlie Adler at Amazon.com.
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