Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine

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Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: As one of the better first readers around at the moment this book has six short stories about situations familiar to most children. The vocabulary is just the right side of challenging and the book is filled with some delightful drawings. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: May 2008
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406301809

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Jamie has a best friend and he's called Angus. This is perhaps a little unusual as Angus is a Highland Bull and a soft toy but he and Jamie do everything together. In this delightful book for the newly confident reader there are six stories about their exploits, each one the perfect length for a new reader to show off their skills or to share as a bedtime story.

The stories are about normal, everyday life. In the first one a young playmate is coming to visit and she's, well, a bit rough with Jamie's toys. Recent visits have resulted in poor Angus being thrown up against the ceiling, having his legs squashed and being dropped into the paddling pool. After that disaster he had to sit on a radiator for nearly a week and then the worst of the tangles in his coat had to be brushed out. Jamie comes up with a way of protecting Angus which is positively ingenious.

In another story Mummy, Daddy and Jamie take Uncle Edward (he's Mummy's brother) for a walk in the country. Uncle Edward doesn't know a lot about the countryside because he thinks that sheep are big white maggots and cows are antelopes. Then the cows do something disgusting and it has to be hidden so that Mummy and daddy don't see what it is.

They're lovely stories which will appeal to boys and girls and they're about things which they know and understand. The vocabulary is just on the right side of challenging and never for a moment does it patronise. Angry eggs have moustaches and beetling brows and one day Jamie wonders if he should have an imaginary friend. Vocabulary will be extended but best of all is the example set by the style of writing – it is Anne Fine after all. Sentences are clear and crisp with no unnecessary flourishes – in fact I don't think there's a superfluous word in the book.

And if this isn't enough there's the treat of the illustrations by Penny Dale. Every double page is broken up so that the text comes in manageable sizes by her delightful line drawings. These are not stylised drawings – this is what real people look like and they're wonderful. There's a picture of Jamie popping bubble wrap which I would love to hang on the wall. They illustrate the text superbly and they'll be a real help to a new reader.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Another book for newly confident readers which impressed us is Flotsam and Jetsam and the Stormy Surprise by Tanya Landman and Ottoline Goes to School by Chris Riddell comes highly recommended by a fellow reviewer's seven-year-old daughter. Those wanting something just a little more challenging should try My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond.

Buy Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jamie and Angus Together by Anne Fine at Amazon.com.


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