Sunday, 20 May 2012

Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Perhaps I shouldn't review anything by the award- winning Donaldson- Scheffler team if I don't start with The Gruffalo, the most well-known of their books. But just because everyone has heard of The Gruffalo, I wanted to start with another one, and I think this one is brilliant, definitely up there with The Gruffalo itself! It's also one that a friend of mine doesn't have. I promised him this review, and I hope it convinces him to get it for his little girl.

Room on the Broom is a fantastic treatise on the value of sharing and of having friends! A series of animals help a butterfingered witch get her belongings back as, one by one, they fall off her broomstick, and in return she and her cat allow them to clamber on and share a windswept ride with them, until the broomstick becomes quite crowded and disaster strikes! Luckily, the witch’s newfound friends are there to help her out of the sticky situation she finds herself in.

This story grabs my little book bugs' attention from page one. They love seeing each object fall off the broom and knowing just where it's going to turn up even as the witch and her friends are searching high and low for it. And the rhyming repetition is the perfect opportunity to join in! Donaldson's verse flows so easily you forget you're reading verse, and there are bits that make me laugh out loud as I read. Scheffler's humourous, cartoon-like illustrations (ink and coloured pencil)  bring the story to life with an attention to detail that gives you something new to talk about at every reading!  I love the facial expressions that speak volumes, seemingly with just a couple of strokes of the pen. And his creation of the "TRULY MAGNIFICENT BROOM" at the end is just that: truly magnificent!

The text is dense, with quite difficult vocabulary that may make this book inaccessible to non-natives that do not have a strongly consolidated background of reading in English. With patience and much clarification it could be used in a non-native classroom context, but the length could well be beyond non-native children's concentration span.

Similarly, early readers would have a lot to wade through if they were to read Room on the Broom themselves. Perhaps they could take on small sections, once the story is familiar to them, while an adult takes on the bulk of the reading.

There is a Room on the Broom Song which is available in a compilation with 7 other songs on CD with an accompanying book. It is not the full text of the story.

1 comment:

  1. Gràcies pel comentari del llibre. El buscarem, a veure si creiem que estarà bé per la nena, o si com dius, potser és massa llarg o difícil...


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