Clare and Her Captain (Colour Conker) by Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner
|Clare and Her Captain (Colour Conker) by Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner|
|Category: Dyslexia Friendly|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A gentle, reflective story about a young girl holidaying in Devon and discovering that she can make her own friends. It's dyslexia friendly too.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 104||Date: October 2015|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke|
|External links: Author's website|
Clare didn't enjoy the journey down to Devon. Her parents always argued and it was usually because Mum had lost her way or got caught in a traffic jam and this time she'd done both. It was a little better when they got to Aunt Dora's house, but Aunt Dora wasn't exactly a peacemaker and tended to stick up for Dad against everybody else. The holiday improved when Clare got out for a walk on her own and discovered a stray lamb on the road. She took it to the nearest house and Mr Jones was delighted: Clare had just saved half his flock. Clare got on with the old man - and with his horse, Captain.
I have a vivid (and rather unpleasant) memory from my childhood. I loved picture books, even when I had mastered the art of reading. Then one day they were all taken away: they were babyish and I was cheating by looking at the pictures rather than reading the words. I felt the injustice of that for a long time (just about over it now...) Barrington Stoke have recognised that children do enjoy having pictures in their books, particularly when the illustrations are by Catherine Rayner - and this book is in a lovely chunky hardback format - complete with a silk bookmark. The illustrations are gorgeous and I loved Captain the horse and the donkey who arrives at Thatcher Jones' house at the end of the story.
It's a gentle story - it probably won't appeal to the child who likes lots of action between the covers of a book. The rhythms of country life are reflected in the story with the acceptance that life comes naturally to its end. Clare's a thoughtful and responsible girl and she can't help feeling that she was in some way responsible for the death of Captain and she sets out to remedy what she feels she has done wrong. The story, aimed at the eight to twelve age group, was inspired by a story Michael Morpurgo's wife told him of the holidays she spent in Devon as a child.
There's a bonus with this book: it'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 which benefits from that - many parents and carers feel the same way. It's not just people with dyslexia which 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.
I'd like to thank Barrington stoke for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Although not as lavishly illustrated but still dyslexia friendly, The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie will also appeal to the same age group.
You can read more book reviews or buy Clare and Her Captain (Colour Conker) by Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Clare and Her Captain (Colour Conker) by Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner at Amazon.com.