Jon For Short by Malorie Blackman and Vladimir Stankovic
|Jon For Short by Malorie Blackman and Vladimir Stankovic|
|Category: Dyslexia Friendly|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: A darkly twisted thriller for teens and older children who like to be frightened.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 72||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
The book begins with a horrible dream of dark footsteps and the flash of knife blade plunging down again and again. Waking up brings no respite to the terror or pain for Jon, because his waking world is even more frightening than the nightmare. He wakes up in a darkened hospital room. There are now windows to the outside, only a small frosted glass window to the hall which lets in a tiny bit of light. The nurses seem cruel and angry. They insist on calling him Joe, No matter how often he tells them his name is Jonathan - Jon for short. The nightmare comes again and again. It starts out exactly the same, but each time it goes on just a little longer and Jon sees a bit more. The dream is not the only cause of his terror. Each time when he wakes up, another part of his body has been removed. Piece by piece he is being dismembered. Soon there will be nothing left of him - and no one will tell him why.
This is obviously a violent story and will not be suitable for all children. My own sons enjoyed it though, trying to guess what was going on and why. I thought the twist was fairly obvious, but neither of my boys caught on until everything was revealed at the very end. I do not wish give away the twist to the story, but I will say that it very plausible. The book is well written, building tension and relying primarily on psychological terror, but there is fairly graphic violence as well. It's easy to complain about this type of book being too violent, but many children do like to be frightened. This book will appeal to many young readers who have no interest in the more mundane stories they get school, or just to children who like a scary story for a bit of a change.
This illustrated in black and white. I can't say the illustrations are nice, but I don't believe they were meant to be. They have odd fragmented quality to them, and carry a tone of menace and foreboding. They suit the story quite well.
Jon For Short is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. 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. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, with a high interest level but a low reading level. Barrington Stoke also has some of the best stories we have come across for older children. These are books you just cannot put down. My own child does not suffer from dyslexia, but he has commented on how much easier it is to read the books with this style of print. The double spacing and frequent breaks mean he does not lose his place in the book, and makes reading a far more enjoyable experience. These books can literally be life changing for a child who is struggling to learn to read, but they make reading easier for all young children, whether they have disabilities or not.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Jon For Short by Malorie Blackman and Vladimir Stankovic at Amazon.com.
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