The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield

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The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first in a series of four books for the early reader which tell the story of Cinderella. The plot and characters are good but be warned that if you buy one you will probably have to buy all four.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340955932

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Amber's Mum sent Amber to put a hat in the dressing-up box and she and her two best friends dashed down to the cellar. The dressing-up box was always a source of good fun and it wasn't long before the girls had tried on lots of the clothes and shoes and Amber was twirling round in a long red skirt. There was a flash of light and Amber disappeared…

…only to reappear in another cellar, complete with pumpkin and a couple of ugly sisters. Yes, Amber had turned into Cinderella and over the next hundred pages we follow her adventures in the cellar, the kitchen and the town. We even get to meet the handsome Prince Charming. It's all double-spaced with plenty of line drawings to help the new reader and give the confidence of having read a book all on her own. The vocabulary is appropriate but not patronising and there's plenty of fun to be had in imagining what it would be like to suddenly find that you are Cinderella. Throw in a cardboard 'Amber' to cut out and dress and most young girls are going to enjoy this book and probably not even realise that they've been practising their reading skills.

In terms of early readers there are better out there – we liked The Worst Witch to the Rescue by Jill Murphy – but there are a lot that are worse. The quality of the writing and the plot is better than The Rainbow Magic Treasury by Daisy Meadows for example and the feisty Amber is more convincing than Rachel and Kirsty, but there's a lot about this book that puts me in mind of the fairies. The Satin Dress is the first of four books which tell the story of Cinderella. There's even a sneak peek at the next part of Amber's adventures – The Diamond Tiara - which will ensure that the reader knows that there is more to come. If you buy this book then there's a very strong possibility that you will buy three more and probably some merchandise to go with it. You may not have a choice as there's going to be school advertising targeting over fifty thousand children in the five- to seven-year age group.

You can live with it? Well, I probably would have done if it encouraged my child to think that reading was fun, but remember that I mentioned that Amber dashed down to the cellar with her two best friends. Lily and Pearl and not going to be left out. In August 2008 Lily will be starring in a four-volume reworking of Snow White but Pearl will have to wait until 2009 before we have another four books – this time about Beauty and the Beast. Children are born collectors and you should hope that Amber doesn't suddenly find a whole host of new friends.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of this book to The Bookbag. My own Amber is now neatly cut out and sitting on the desk complete with dress, handbag and mirror. Some of the cutting was quite delicate and the younger members of the target age group might need a little assistance if Amber is not to have her fingers amputated.

Buy The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield at

Buy The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Satin Dress (Amber's Dressing-up Dreams) by Jenny Oldfield at


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