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The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears

The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears

Alastair Chisholm
Walker Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781406365139

This charming story is one told by Jamie's dad. A little boy called Jamie is tucked up in bed, ready for his bedtime story from dad and he knows exactly what he wants! A story with a prince and a bear and a witch, and even more bears for extra fun, a made up one, the best kind dad could tell.

Dad is good at telling stories and quickly gets his thoughts together to begin telling Jamie his tale. Throughout the story Jamie incessantly interrupts dad with eager questions about the plot line, wanting to know more about the characters and his own input and changes to the storyline (like a horse carried on the back of a knight down a cliff and an evil witch who could turn you into jelly), all the while making dad work hard to incorporate all of Jamie's wishes and keep his adventure going.

This is a book so many parents will relate to; the plea of their child asking for a story at bedtime, not just any story, a new and exciting story tailored just for them. This book is enjoyable and inspirational for both parents and children, as each inventive interjection by Jamie creates a new laugh out loud twist to the tale.

Jamie and his dad have such a loving relationship, enjoying every minute of each other's company before bedtime. Dad stays positive throughout and humorously rises to the challenge of Jamie's adaptations, making this a heart-warming tale for any reader.

The story is adventurous and the illustrations depict this brilliantly. The pictures are bold, bright and great detail has been given to show the hilarious emotions of each of the characters throughout their ordeal. Children will love the image of Broccoli Castle surrounded by the hungry bears as well as the comic strip images of the princess who is secretly the famous jewel thief, Fingers Malloy.

This is a great text to use in the classroom throughout Primary Key stages as a stimulus to encourage character description, and imaginative ideas for plot lines of their own. I would use this in class in a way similar to the style of the storytelling, with children working in pairs to interject and explore each other's ideas to create a shared piece of writing.

Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher


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