Tag Archives: Katie Dale


‘Instant child appeal’ Parents in Touch reviews some recent fiction and non-fiction Early Readers!

Parents in Touch has posted a review of some of our May and June fiction and non-fiction Early Readers:

Jim’s Junk and Fix It by Jenny Jinks (pink band)

‘The lively illustrations give the book plenty of appeal.’

Nuts! and Is that My Ball? by Jenny Jinks (red band)

Lost and found is the theme of the two stories in this book – I like the way there is a link between the two, to make it more meaningful for children.’

The Perfect Spot by Alice Hemming (yellow band)

An entertaining story, which children will identify with as a familiar situation.’

Shy Stan by Katie Dale (blue band)

As children progress through the reading bands, so the stories become longer and more enjoyable, reflecting Maverick’s commitment to always bringing us great story telling.’

Woah! What’s the Weather (turquoise band)

It’s always good to see non-fiction as part of reading schemes and this fits well with the curriculum as well as offering lots of talking points. The spread which shows weather symbols adds a fresh dimension to learning to read and to extracting information from books. There is also a very useful glossary, introducing another learning/research concept.’

Wild and Wacky Animals (purple band)

With excellent colour photos, this is informative and entertaining. The word breakdowns help children pronounce unfamiliar words, extending their comprehension and vocabulary.’

Dress to Impress (gold band)

It’s good to see these familiar characters featuring in books through the reading scheme, as the familiarity is enjoyable for children, who relate well to familiar characters. I like the fact the book includes a map of all the places visited, as map reading is another learning skill children need to acquire, and this simple map is ideal. As with all the Maverick Early Readers, the layout is clear and really makes reading a pleasure.’

Read the whole review here and visit our dedicated Early Reader website 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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‘Would confidently recommend it to current teachers and to parents’ The Letterpress Project reviews new Early Readers!

Karen at The Letterpress Project has recently reviewed two of our ten new pink and red band Early Readers which were published on the 28th of May. The two titles are Viv the Vet and Top Dog by Katie Dale and I Can Get It and Hop In! by Jenny Jinks. Here’s what she had to say:

The plots in reading scheme books are often pretty dull, especially as so much repetition is needed but these two little stories are quite eventful. 

I like the way that each band is written and illustrated by different people which provides good variety. Attention has also been paid to using the lively, colourful illustrations across each double page spread which helps the reader to move from left to right, and sometimes from top to bottom.

It is clear that this is a reading scheme that has been very carefully designed and takes into account the language style and phonics and has been produced with advice from a leading educational consultant.

As a former Early Years teacher, I remain impressed with this series of reading books and would confidently recommend it to current teachers and to parents as well.’

Thank you, Karen!

Read the full review here

Order Viv the Vet and Top Dog here and I Can Get It and Hop In! here

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