How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden

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How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: A story about real courage - of the most hysterically funny kind.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781122433

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All Tom has ever wanted to do is join the army, but the odds seem stacked against him. Schoolwork doesn't come easily for Tom, and without a lot of work, he'll never pass his exams. Tom is determined and with enough determination we can overcome huge obstacles. It's a good thing too - because Tom is going to have major obstacles thrown in his path. Any child with younger siblings will be able to laugh at the disasters that befall Tom as he tries to prepare for the most important day of his life - the exam that will determine his future. If he passes he can join the army. If not - his dreams are over.

When the day of the big exam finally comes, Tom is left without a school a uniform and refused admission to the test. Most boys would go home in tears, but Tom's best mate comes to the rescue with an ingenious plan. With a bit of begging and borrowing Tom soon has a uniform to wear, and without a minute to spare he rushes in for the exam. There is only one problem. The only uniform Tom's friend can find is a girl's uniform. Will Tom be brave enough to sit his exams in a skirt.

My son loved this book. I could hear him laughing as he sat reading it and he read it all in one sitting, always the indication of a good story. He told me he liked the part about Tom pretending anything was a gun to play soldier with, just as he and his brother do. He thought the antics of the triplets were hilarious, but the ending was the best part of all.

I read this myself as soon as my son finished. Once I finished it, I read it a second time, this time to my four year old who enjoyed it as well. I read quite a few children's books and this one impressed me on so many levels. The humour is brilliant, I had to restrain myself from laughing out loud as well. This is a book that will appeal to an exceptionally wide range of ages, I honestly did really enjoy this myself and I am very well past the recommended age range. I could see this easily appealing to teens but the reading level is very young. At age 8 my son breezed through this and I would place the reading level as perhaps age 7. This makes this ideal for delayed or reluctant readers. In addition to a high interest story with a low reading age text, this is listed as dyslexia friendly and strictly adheres to guidelines for dyslexia-friendly text. The book is printed in a special typeface designed specifically for dyslexic readers by Barrington Stoke. The font is large, clear, and double spaced on a non reflective, off-white background with the paper thick enough that no print is shows through from the other side. Although my own child does not have dyslexia, he does still find this type of print easier to read, especially if he will be reading out loud. I would certainly recommend this book, not only for children with dyslexia, but for any child who is progressing into chapter books, or who simply enjoy a brilliant story. This is the type of book that makes boys really want to read, and as such it was never going to earn less than five stars from me.

But despite how much I like this book for its humour, the fact that it is so easy to read, and the fact that my son enjoyed it so much, there is one aspect of this book which I value above all of the others. This really is a story about courage, every bit as much as a story of a battlefield. It takes real courage for a child to struggle so much to make something of themselves. It takes courage not to be discouraged and give up when you have to struggle so much, not for the best grades, but just to pass. The fact that Tom does all of this makes him a hero in my opinion, but even then he has more hurdles to cross. To walk into a school classroom in front of your mates in a skirt is an act of bravery that most boys can truly appreciate - and it also tells children to go for their dreams, no matter what anyone else thinks.

This is one of those books, that having read I will never forget and one I will certainly recommend frequently. I am sorry I can only give this five stars. Both my son and I feel it deserves more.

If this book appeals then why not try:

How To Write Really Badly also by Anne Fine

Billy the Kid by Michael Morpurgo

Buy How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden at

Buy How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy How Brave Is That? by Anne Fine and Vicki Gausden at


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