The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen

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The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: Michael Morpurgo at his best in a dyslexia friendly format for early readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 86 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781122877

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I think all children love dens. It is almost a primal instinct for children, to find, construct and hide away in huts, dens, tents, or any other place that gives them that sense of their own private place, away from the world. Michael Morpurgo has captured the magic of a secret den perfectly in this story of three friends who find an abandoned WW2 Pillbox and make it into their own private castle. The children are not really meant to be in the pillbox. It is on private property, but they don't really have any place else to go. Two of the children are not allowed to go home until their parents finish work and the third will not leave his best friend out in the weather alone. At first the pillbox is just shelter from a storm, but it soon becomes an embodiment of all the wonder of childhood as the children transform it into a wonderful private retreat. But how long will they be able to keep their special hideout a secret? This is a lovely story with a heart warming theme of friendship, a confrontation with bullies, and the inevitable pangs of growing up.

Faye Hanson's illustrations are a perfect match to Michael Morpurgo's storytelling. Her beautifully detailed black and white drawings draw the reader into the children's secret world. The attention to detail is exceptional. In one particular illustration you can almost feel the heat given off by the glowing heater as one of the children covers the draughty windows with sack cloth.

This book is part of Barrington Stoke's Little Gem's line for developing readers. This series is designed to support children taking their first steps to independent reading, whether they are dyslexic or not. 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 have all the features of Barrington Stokes books for older children, but are designed for a younger age group. 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 think this book falls into these age recommendations perfectly. My own sons, ages 5 and 8 both enjoyed this book, and I have to admit, I enjoyed it myself, so I would be quite happy to recommend this book to emergent readers of all ages.

If these books appeal then you might also like to consider:

The Wickedest Witch in the World by Kaye Umansky and Gerald Kelley

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

Buy The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Castle in the Field (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hansen at Amazon.com.


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