Here comes Frankie – talking about Synaesthesia

This is what our year 5/6s have been reading and talking about in the library this week. Here comes Frankie by Tim Hopgood is about a boy who lives in a very quiet and colourless world until the day he decides he will learn to play the trumpet. Although the sounds he makes aren’t great at first, he soon realises that the notes he plays produce the most vivid smells and fabulous colours. His parents can see and smell these effects too and soon his whole street is alive with colour and sound. This is a lovely book with wonderful illustrations.

Frankie has a condition called synaesthesia, basically a tangling of the wires in the brain causing some senses to interlink. A great website called Your Amazing Brain gives a good description – click on this link here.

A number of famous artists and musicians have synaesthesia, including the artist Vincent Van Gogh and the musician Billy Joel. Many musicians and artists see having this condition as an asset but unfortunately, when Vincent started having piano lessons and the teacher realised he was associating colours with certain notes, he took this as a sign of insanity and asked him to leave! Poor Vincent!

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The Fabulous Friend Machine – great story for older primary students

Popcorn the chicken is without doubt the friendliest and kindest animal on the farm, and when she discovers a Fabulous Friend Machine in the barn she is delighted to find that there are others out there just as friendly as she is – or are they? After ignoring her old friends to stay glued to her machine and keep up with her new friends, arranging to meet them seems to be the obvious next step….. will these new friends be quite as friendly as she thought?

We enjoyed reading this book with Year 7/8s and Year 5/6s and raised all kinds of questions like knowing who we are communicating with online, staying on devices into the night and looking out for our friends even if they ditch us for fancy new ones. A great fable delivering some messages that are well worth talking about.

 

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Our Junior Students fill the library Nickle Nackle Tree

Students from Rooms 4,5,6 and 9 and some visiting Seatoun Kindergarten children have been busy producing beautiful birds for our Nickle Nackle Tree, based on a counting book by the creator of Hairy Maclary, Lynley Dodd.

Each bird brings its own style and humour to the tree and our students have made each one unique. The sleepy Snooze birds snore side by side, the cheeky Chizzle birds are cheerful and chirpy and our fussy Fissick birds have feathered vests which are now not necessarily yellow!

Here are the children hard at work with their birds:

See how the tree has filled up! Even the Kindy children came back in today to see how beautiful our tree is. Come in and have a look at our tree and see if you can count how many of each bird there are.

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Detective Gordon and his new colleague Buffy

We have two great books in our library about the great Detective Gordon who somehow manages to keep law and order in the forest. When the squirrels start to complain that someone is stealing their nuts, he sets about finding the culprit and along the way finds himself the perfect assistant, a baby mouse who he names Buffy. Buffy and Detective Gordon combine his wisdom with her agility and between them a lovely friendship and a great crime-solving team emerges.

In the second book they try to work out who in the forest is being so mean to everyone. Detective Gordon is trying to teach Buffy the basics of The Book of Law but it appears there are too many laws to remember. There are laws like:

It is forbidden to splash water on tired badgers.

It is forbidden to tease a pig and tell him his tail is curly.

It is permitted to wash dishes for old badgers.

It is permitted to offer juice to a hedgehog.

How can Detective Gordon make the law easy for Buffy to understand? These books are for sharing as a read aloud or for anyone who can read early chapter books. There is another one due out this year in which Buffy must work by herself.

 

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Julia Donaldson, David Walliams and a new soon-to-be favourite, Emer Stamp.

This week in the library we enjoyed some books which are new to our library but by two authors that are big favourites already, and another that I’m sure will be popular.

scarecrows-wedding

We all love Julia Donaldson’s picture books – they rhyme so wonderfully and are full of brave, kind and clever characters. The Gruffalo is the one we know the best, but we also love the Snail and the Whale, Tabby McTat, Sharing a Shell, and many more which we have in the library. This week we shared The Scarecrow’s Wedding, in which the beautiful Betty O’Barley and her dear friend Harry O’Hay set about finding everything they need for their wedding. When Harry is delayed on the search, is the smooth talking Reginald Rake going to take his place at Betty’s side? Read it and find out!

midnight-gang

David Walliams has written a book about a group of children staying in the rather unpleasant children’s ward in a large hospital. There is Tom with a sore head, Amber with two broken legs and two broken arms, Robyn, who pushes her around in her wheelchair, has had an eye operation and can’t see anything, George likes food and has had his tonsils out, and finally poor old Sally is too sick to go on any of the adventures but could have input at crucial times. They are the Midnight Gang because only in the middle of the night when their mean nurse is fast asleep can they get out of bed and have some fun. This is a great action packed adventure story from one of our favourite authors.

pig

Finally here are a new set of of extremely funny Top Secret Diaries of Pig, a set of three books by Emer Stamp. Pig loves his farmer, Mr Sandal, who feeds him yummy slops, calls him Sausage and loves him more the fatter he gets. Pig also has a best friend Duck who makes up great games for them both to play (we read about a particularly rude game in library time this week), and another friend, Cow. Pig, Duck and Cow make each other laugh and look out for each other. Pig doesn’t like Hens because Hens are Evil. Find out more by reading one of these books. They really are laugh-out-loud funny that everyone will enjoy.

 

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A week talking about Kindness in books

sunbeams-and-kindness

At school this week we have talked about kindness because some of our books help to us to understand the effects of kindness on others. Wonder by R.J. Palacio features a boy born with facial differences called August who goes to mainstream school for the first time when he is 10. The reactions from students are varied. This book is told from the points of view of August himself, his sister and some of the students at his school, and it can be sad at times, full of cruelty, but also full of charm, humour and kindness. Anybody from about year 5 upwards would like this book. It is in our library. Read it.

wonder-image-1

 

The author of Wonder talked to some students about what they felt being kind meant. Here is the link to those interviews:

rjpalacio-kindness-video

We talked about this at school this week, and the great suggestions we heard were:

  • playing with anyone who is by themselves
  • putting your arm round someone who is hurt or crying
  • giving someone a compliment
  • talking nicely to people and smiling
  • keeping unkind thoughts to yourself and not joining in with anyone who is saying unkind things
  • being yourself and not joining in with nasty conversations to fit in

Roald Dahl also liked to portray the nice children and adults in his books as being very kind and didn’t hold back on his descriptions of unkind people. Remember Mrs Twit? We heard this week about how Mrs Twit used to be quite pretty when she was a girl but how having ugly thoughts every day and every week and every year she became uglier and uglier until she looks like this:

mrs-twit

 

Roald Dahl books are funny and exciting and full of adventure. They also contain characters who can be really kind and really cruel too. We have all of them in the library. Come and try one or read one again, you can never be too old to read a Roald Dahl.

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Hitler’s Canary – a great adventure book based on the lives of brave people in WW2

hitlers-canary

This was a tale of great bravery and adventure, written by television comedian Sandi Toksvig and based on the real life experiences of her grandfather growing up in wartime Denmark. 10 year old Bamse’s interesting life with an actress mother and stagehand/artist father is turned upside down when the Germans occupy his city and the life of his best friend Anton becomes threatened. His older brother starts to act oddly, his sister dates a German soldier and then to top it all off, his Nazi sympathising uncle comes to live with them.

Bamse’s adventures become more exciting and serious as the story unfolds, and it is even more interesting to read when you think that this was actually happening to people across Denmark. Here is a link from the BBC which tells the story of how thousands of Jewish people managed to escape the Nazis in WW2.

I would recommend this book to children in years 5-8 who love adventure and excitement and are interested in real life events from history.

escape-denmark

 

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