The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins

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The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A story with just a little bit of magic, a lovely kitten - and it's dyslexia friendly too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 978-1781126783

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Marcie is distraught. On Valentine's Day last year she'd didn't receive a single card and her parents could see that she was upset, so when she came home from school there was a box on the kitchen table and in it was the most gorgeous fluffy silver kitten. Misty and Marcie were soon inseparable until the day that Misty went out without a collar on - and didn't come home. Marcie blamed herself: Misty's collar had broken and she'd never got round to buying a new one. Mum has put notices up everywhere she can think of and rung the local vets and animal rescue centres, but there's no sign of Misty. Then Marcie starts having dreams, about a boy, a hotel, a painting - and Misty. Will there be a happy ending?

It's a lovely story with just a little bit of magic and a big message about never giving up hope. Marcie's friend Ellie is determined that there must be a way of finding Misty and she encourages Marcie to write down her dreams before she does anything else in the morning. Gradually a story emerges, but will it lead the girls - and Marcie's Mum - to Misty. And will there be a Valentine's card for Marcie next year?

It's definitely a feel-good book: you can't help but smile as you read it and you really warm to the two girls. I felt for Marcie's distress at losing Misty and empathised with her guilt: we've all wondered if something we've done has made matters worse and it's a valuable lesson when you understand that you have to accept that, move on and do your best to put things right. I loved Ellie's strong friendship and her practical approach to finding Misty. Ellie wants to be a detective: she's certainly got the makings!

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 eight plus, so it's going to encourage kids who are just a bit slow at 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 super-readable sticker (that's what tells you that it's dyslexia friendly) 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 publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you will love Mum Never Did Learn to Knock by Cathy Hopkins.

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Buy The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins at


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