ISBN 0744589959

This is the first book in the series about the Gaskitt family. The prologue ‘Meet the Gaskitts’ sets the scene, not just for the characters but for the quirky humour which characterises Allan Ahlberg’s writing. Children who are already familiar with his wonderful ‘Happy Families’ series will be will prepared for this. There is language fun to be had in the repetitions, the car radio’s malapropisms and mistakes, the robber’s inadvertent jokes. There is further slapstick humour in both the text and the illustrations, particularly of the cats and the robber, the strange contortions of Mr Blotter, the crazy chase, the chaos on the bus. The final twist which makes sense of at least some of the craziness is enormously satisfying. This amusing story will appeal to boys and girls who are looking for a longer read to get their teeth into. It is a perfect book to share and revisit as the jokes can be missed when first read. There are many opportunities for pupils to ask their own questions about the reasons for the events, e.g. why does Mr Gaskitt wear all his clothes? Before reading you could display the chapter titles and ask the children to predict what will happen in the story. They could then use their predictions to support their understanding of events. After reading, pupils could attempt to map the events from the story in sequence. They could think of ways of showing events that are happening at the same time. They could re-tell the story from the point of view of one of the characters.

ISBN 0140315934

Stories with everyday settings and characters that children will recognise from their own classes and perhaps they will even recognise similar traits in themselves. Stories are all around us and children can be encouraged to tell each other stories based on their own experiences. As Michael Rosen reminds us, ‘Everyone tells stories. Bus queues, cafes, water-coolers and front rooms ring with the sound of people swapping tales. Of course we don't usually call them that. We talk of gossip, or "Did you hear what happened to ... ?" and "You never guess what I did when ... ?’ And stories such as Dinner Ladies Don’t Count demonstrate that stories are indeed transferred from life to art.

ISBN 1842550675

The Horrid Henry series provide readers who are developing reading stamina with satisfying, self-contained stories. These stories have been chosen for their particular appeal to boys and provide excellent opportunities for working in role to explore the characters of Henry and Peter. Pupils could invent new scenarios for Henry and present these in the form of a comic strip. Links could be made to healthy eating science by reading Horrid Henry Eats a Vegetable. Pupils could produce persuasive posters or letters to inform Henry about the benefits of eating vegetables. Some pupils may be able to explore how Francesca Simon makes the reader laugh. One example of this is on p26-7 where Simon uses a series of very short paragraphs to build up to the revelation that Henry is wearing the frilly pink knickers.

ISBN 184428638X

This is an extremely well written story which is an excellent read aloud. The descriptions of the setting are vivid and the tree in particular is brought to life through use of figurative language. The themes of fear and sibling rivalry and of being away from home are familiar for Year Three readers. The Owl Tree could be used in whole class teaching or as a guided reading text. Activities • At the end of chapter one, draw Mr Rock and annotate the drawing with words to describe him. Repeat this at the end of the book and compare the two pictures. • Create an emotions graph to show the way Joe changes during the story • Write about what frightens you • Hot seat Mr Rock, asking him questions about the Owl Tree • Draw the Owl Tree and add descriptive words and phrases as you read the story • In role create a conversation between Mr Rock and Granny Rose about the Owl Tree.

ISBN 0744582954

The Snow Maze is an excellent story for newly independent readers. It has short chapters and illustrations which break up the text. It could be read aloud to the whole class or used in guided reading and has been chosen for its appeal to boys and girls. Activities • Chapter Two contains an excellent description of the field which contains the maze. This could be read aloud to the class while they draw the scene in as much detail as possible • Pupils could explore what might be behind the lonely gate through drama and freeze frame. This could then be followed by writing a description focusing on using descriptive language • Links to PSHE could be made by discussing friendship and why Irrum is a good friend to Joe.

ISBN 009997780X

Willy and Hugh has been included for its appeal to both boys and girls. It works well in guided reading where there is much to discuss and as a whole class text. Less experienced readers are supported and challenged by the illustrations. Activities/Discussion • Predict what will happen next when Willy runs into Hugh • In groups, create a freeze frame of different scenes in the story • Hot seat Hugh, Willy and Buster • Discuss the way Buster Nose is portrayed. What kind of character is he? How does Anthony Browne show this in the illustrations • Create they create a sequel to Willy and Hugh?

ISBN 1844285588

This is a beautifully illustrated book with excellent use of descriptive language. Repetition makes the text accessible for less experienced readers. Links can be made to science and growing things. A list of descriptive vocabulary from the text could be made for children to use in their own writing. Children could use a circle cut into quarters to draw the different stages of planting and annotate this with verbs to describe the actions that take place in each season. This could help support spelling work on adding endings to verbs. Also make available Stefan Buczacki’s excellent Young Gardener.

ISBN 0333375726

This is a classic picture book which continues to appeal to emergent readers in Year Three. Young readers will empathise with Claire’s imaginative explanations and appreciate the ending. Activities • Children could invent other explanations for the bad knee and could tell their story to a partner. This could be followed by creating an extra page for the book using the same comic strip style. • Reading the story could lead to telling stories of their own experiences of hurting themselves or exaggerating events.

ISBN 0141380446

The fourth in a series of Little Rabbit books is included for its appeal to less experienced readers. The illustrations support the text and the theme, the arrival of new siblings, is familiar to young readers. Drama strategies could be used to help readers understand the feelings Little Rabbit has towards the triplet babies. Little Rabbit could be hot seated and an emotions graph could chart the reasons for his changing feelings. Reading could lead to writing about new arrivals in the lives of the children, either a baby or a pet.

ISBN 1904511627

Many children will be familiar with the experience of visiting a grandparent and be captivated by the memories and stories that they have to share. This book provides and excellent starting point for suggesting that children become collectors and recorders of those memories. They might interview older relatives about their memories of growing up. A collection of books depicting children and grandparents might be displayed in the classroom. Look out for Philippe Dupasquier A Sunday with Granpa and Jill Paton Walsh When Grandma Came.