Tag Archives: Chez L’Abeille

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‘Will add a positive additional dimension to any school reading scheme’ Chez L’Abeille checks out the new non-fiction Early Readers!

Cathy at Chez L’Abeille posted a great review for our new non-fiction Early Readers published at the end of May:

These books have a similar format to the fiction readers. They are the same size and have a new spread for each item. There is also the established quiz at the end. However, the contents page, introduction and index/glossary will enable young readers to use their reference skills to locate specific information and build their vocabulary. The spreads are clearly laid out and alongside the main text and pictures we have commentary from Zeek and Finn, which adds additional information.

I think these books will add a positive additional dimension to any school reading scheme – often non-fiction books are more inaccessible for younger readers but there are many children who don’t want to always read fiction. For the child who, like me, wants to find out about the world around them, these may be just the thing!’

Thank you, Cathy! Read the full review here and find out more about the books and download free audio files and activity packs on our dedicated Early Reader website here.

We have four more non-fiction titles publishing in August!

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‘A worthy addition to the pirate canon!’ Chez l’Abeille finds hidden treasure in The Pirate Who Lost His Name!

Cathy at Chez l’Abeille has written a cracking review for new picture book The Pirate Who Lost His Name by Lou Treleaven with illustrations by Genie Espinosa:

Finding new texts to enthuse young children is always a teacher’s top priority. In recent times, I don’t think I’ve got through a school year without seeing a pirate context being used in an early years classroom somewhere. Most young children love the idea of pirates and know a lot about them too. This new book by Lou Treleaven and Genie Espinosa brings a new twist to the pirate genre, and offers some strong curriculum links too.

This story would also provide opportunities to discuss the cast of characters and their various attributes. Each pirate has a hugely descriptive name and sometimes some quite subtle characteristics. Captain Anorak certainly wears an anorak, but why does our pirate rush away when the “One Thousand Favourite Pirate Postcards Scrapbook” is produced? Understanding the multiple meanings of words and phrases is a skill the reader needs to develop so they can really understand the texts they engage with. I think having opportunities to do this with language and not just images is important. 

All in all this is a funny story, with depth to the tale and the illustrations, and one which will bear multiple readings. A worthy addition to the pirate canon!’

Thanks, Cathy!

Read the full review here and buy a copy for a special price of £6.95 here

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‘Several themes which would make it a very useful story for any classroom’ Chez l’abeille reviews The MOOsic Makers!

Cathy at Chez l’abeille has just posted a great review for picture book The MOOsic Makers by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Barbara Bakos (publishing 28 July):

Although, on the surface, this story appears quite straightforward, there are several themes which would make it a very useful story for any classroom. Nutmeg and Celery, the talented duo are lured by the scent of fame, but have to become DisCOW musicians instead.  Georgie Smarm, music industry baddie extraordinaire, tells the girls that their preferred checked shirts and straw hats are for boys and instead they must wear pink and glitter! Joni is a capable, cowgirl boot wearing character too. Discussing these characters would make a very interesting starting point for conversations about gender, image and personal preferences.

Music clearly plays a large part in this tale. Nutmeg plays a mandolin, which is not a typical instrument in most children’s musical repertoire and certainly not mine!  Listening to fast, finger picked mandolin would be an exciting way to introduce the story and create a sense of the western environment it is set in.

I also felt that this story would be of value to read with slightly older children. The perils of forgetting your friends and your true self, in pursuit of quick fame and glory, might not be so evident for younger listeners but children who have been steeped in the overnight success seen on X Factor or Britain’s’ Got Talent, could find some insight into the dangers of being seduced by all that glitters.

The story is riotously chock-ful of puns, which will have children laughing and adults groaning in equal measures. Some may need explaining but all will add to the pleasure of the read.’

Thanks, Cathy, for such a thoughtful review!

Read the full review here and pre-order the book here

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‘Great stories which we can all enjoy in equal measure! Bravo!’ Super review for new January Early Readers from Chez L’Abeille!

We have just received a wonderful review for four of our new Early Readers publishing this month from teacher Cathy at Chez L’Abeille:

These new books certainly deliver. One of the things I love about them is that they would be equally at home in the home or in a classroom – so as my day job takes me in and out of many classrooms, I’m going to consider them in that context.

There is a lot of discussion in education currently, about the need for reading books that are “decodable”; that is, closely matched to the phonics knowledge a child has mastered. The recently revised draft Ofsted Inspection Framework makes much of this viewpoint, so many schools I expect, will be looking closely at their reading book shelves and making big decisions about their content. Personally, I think all the Maverick books would be a good addition to any classroom collection.

Maverick have continued to bring children, parents and teachers some great stories which we can all enjoy in equal measure! Bravo!’

Mole in Goal by Amanda Brandon with illustrations by Giusi Capizzi (Orange Book Band/Phase 5 Letters and Sounds). ‘This is a great book in which disability is sensitively explored. The illustrations work well with the text and I particularly liked the way Mole’s point of view is demonstrated, so children can see how he experiences the world.’

The Oojamaflip by Lou Treleaven with illustrations by Julia Patton (Turquoise Band). ‘Given that I sometimes have to hear Year 2 children reading as part of my day job, I think this one may make its way into my work bag!’

Wishker by Heather Pindar with illustrations by Sarah Jennings (Purple Band). ‘The nice twist at the end also brings opportunities for considering what happens next. I also felt the language and structure of the text gave it a sightly more episodic feel – perfect for building up the reading stamina as children move into early chapter books.’

Scary Scott by Katie Dale with illustrations by Irene Montano (Gold Band). ‘I loved this story for it’s humour and pace.The tension builds gradually and there are some great Uh-Oh! moments and cliffhangers along the way. There is also another moral dilemma to discuss – how to do the right thing, even if you may lose out is an important consideration for most 6 and 7 year olds!’

Thanks, Cathy! Read the full review here and have a look at all our Early Readers and download free activity packs and audio files here

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‘A deliciously appealing set of banded reading books’ Chez L’Abeille reviews new Early Readers!

Primary school teacher Cathy at Chez L’Abeille recently reviewed two of our new yellow and blue band Early Readers publishing this month:

One of the longest standing debates in the teaching of reading must be the reading scheme vs. “real books” one. Over nearly 35 years of being involved in the teaching of reading, this one has rumbled and rumbled. Being a realist, I was always aware that the barrier to reading a published picture book independently lay in the complexity of the written words and this remains the main stumbling block.

Maverick have grasped this nettle and are building a deliciously appealing set of banded reading books which combine both the aesthetics of a picture book, yet have the graded vocabulary required to match a child’s developing decoding skills. The colour bands used to grade the books are derived from the “Book Band” system, developed by the Institute of Education, and used widely in schools to match books across the many existing schemes. I’ve been a long-standing devotee of the book bands, as they give teachers a short hand system for judging the relative difficulty of a book. In my day job I work with primary schools and this includes the moderation of reading assessments in Reception and Year. At times like this, being able to judge a book by its cover comes in very handy!’

About Jim and the Big Fish (yellow band) by Clare Helen Welsh she said:

It is a charming story with a seaside setting…. There are simple sentences and speech bubbles which feature easily decodable words, perfect for the developing reader. The usual quiz is at the end of the book to support recall skills.’ 

About Little Scarlet’s Big Fibs (blue band) by Katie Dale she said:

‘This is based on the traditional Red Riding Hood story but with a great twist that will get children laughing! There is an increase in the number of sentences on the page, which will build reading stamina, but the reader is still supported by decodable words to help fluency. Small illustrated clues also give the reader information about just what Little Scarlet is up to and why Granny isn’t getting her treats. 

Once again the high production values and quality of the writing shine through in both books and I think these are a great addition to the Maverick Early Reader scheme.’

Thanks, Cathy!

Read the full review here.

Buy copies of the Early Readers here.

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‘So am I converted? I have to say I am.’ Early Years teacher Cathy at Chez L’Abeille reviews purple band Early Readers

Early Years teacher Cathy has just posted a wonderful review of some purple banded Early Readers on her blog Chez L’Abeille. We sent her three of the books in the band, A Right Royal Mess, The Jelly that Wouldn’t Wobble and The Great Grizzly Race and here’s some of what she had to say:

‘The idea behind this series is simple: to create reading books that support the transition from being a listener to being a reader. The resulting books have also been “banded” according to the Institute of Education’s book bands for guided reading, which provides clear guidance on the level of difficulty and reading skills needed. This is a big plus for me, as I frequently use the book bands in my advisory work with schools.

Working with their roster of established authors (including several SCBWI friends across the whole series), the purple band books are based on existing stories or characters, with which children may already be familiar. The established pairings of author and illustrator are also replicated, which again provides a sense of familiarity and high quality.

For me, each book works well as a complete story, bringing the sense of satisfaction that comes from active engagement in a well written picture book. For a transitional reader the overall reading experience would be supportive, yet one of moving on to something more challenging. In Don Holdaway’s words, they are definitely purposeful and meaningful.

So am I converted? I have to say I am.’

Thanks, Cathy! It’s so important when teacher and librarian reviewers value the Early Readers.

Read the full review here

View all 40 books in the Early Readers scheme here

 

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