The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie

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The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A lovely story which acknowledges that change isn't always easy and that it takes a while to come to terms with it. It's dyslexia friendly too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: October 2014
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 978-1781124031

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Everyone knew Meg as the girl with the sunshine smile. She always looked pretty and happy and her mother used her in her business to model bridesmaid's dresses. They had a lovely little flat which was always neat as a new pin and Meg thought that life was perfect. Then her mother met Danny - and everything changed. Danny was the single father to four boys and they all lived on a houseboat. A messy houseboat. With no lock on the bathroom door. And when there was a flood at Mum's flat they had to move in with Danny and the four boys. That was when Meg stopped smiling.

It's a lovely story and one which a lot of children will understand - when a single parent meets a new partner and life which had been about the two of you has to accommodate someone else and possibly their children too. It's not about difficult step parents, or neglect in any form. It's about change and the fact that it's not easy, that it might take quite a while before you start to feel yourself again. It's one of those lovely books where everyone is trying their best - just like it usually is in real life. There's a gorgeous ending too, which will have you going Aww...

There's a bonus with this book too - or rather the whole basis of this book is something quite special. It's dyslexia friendly. The reading age is eight, but the interest age is nine plus, so it's going to encourage kids who are just a bit slow of picking up the reading habit or who are struggling with the technique. You'll find details of the reading age and interest age just to the right of the barcode on the back of the book - it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for and kids not going to be embarrassed by it. The dyslexia-friendly sticker peels off easily and the cover design looks just like the trendy books the other kids are reading.

So, what makes the book dyslexia friendly? Well, firstly Barrington Stoke have designed a special font where each character is distinct and pulls the reader on to read the next word. It's printed on an off-white paper, which reduces the glare which can distract some readers and the paper is substantial enough to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The spacing between words and lines has been carefully judge to give the best reading experience and the text has not been justified as this can mean that readers get lost on the page. The book has clearly defined chapters to give natural rest breaks and it's not just the reader which benefits from that - many parents and carers feel the same way. It's not just people with dyslexia which benefit from these ingenious changes - most young readers will find the books easier to read and more enjoyable. I'm just about into my dotage and recently I've been suffering from eye problems - and Barrington Stoke books are the ones which I can read most easily.

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

If you like this book then we know that you'll love Star for a Day by Jean Ure, Worry Angels by Sita Brahmachari and Jane Ray and The Girl Who Wasn't There by Karen McCombie.

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Buy The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie at


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