Welcome to the next blog post in our series with primary ITE lecturers, Rachel Eperjesi and Tracey Wire.
28th February 2019
Welcome to the next blog post in our series with primary ITE lecturers, Rachel Eperjesi and Tracey Wire. Rachel and Tracey both lecture in English on the undergraduate and postgraduate primary teacher training courses. In this series, they will be sharing some children’s literature with us…
Good to see you both again. You obviously read faster than me, as I am still reading the first of the books you recommended in the last blog post! So, what have you got to share with us this time?
Rachel: This time, we have chosen to focus on two books by the same author.
Tracey: Yes, the talented author, Kieran Larwood (@kmlarwood). The first book we are going to share is The Peculiars, a winner of the Times Children’s Fiction Competition.
Rachel: Set in Victorian Times, this book is the story of a group of ‘sideshow misfits’ (think Bearded Lady from the Greatest Showman!) who embark upon a quest to solve the mystery of missing children.
Tracey: Sheba the wolfgirl, leads her unusual companions into London’s darker alleys to combat an evil band of child-snatchers. As you move through the story the tension builds to keep you on the edge of your seat and make you want to keep on turning the pages.
Rachel: Each chapter begins with a short, Friends-like statement that leads you further into the tale, for example: ‘Chapter 15: In which Sheba samples some unpleasant hospitality’. Tracey: Kieran Larwood’s descriptions are a treat for all the senses, as he draws us into the crime-fighting characters’ murky surroundings.
Rachel: We really enjoyed the pace of the book, the historical context (including the setting of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park), and the way the writer makes you root for the characters.
Tracey: The book’s slightly scary central premise means that this would be a particularly enticing read for a Year 5 or 6 class.
That sounds good – I will have to add it to my list. Which other book by Kieran Larwood have you chosen?
Tracey: The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, which is the first in ‘The Five Realms’ series. It was a Blue Peter Book Award Winner in 2017.
Rachel: I adored this! For me it was Games of Thrones but with rabbits. To clarify that, there are different tribes who inhabit different warrens within the Five Realms of Lanica. Throughout the book, there are delightful occasional illustrations by David Wyatt, who has also illustrated fantasy books by the likes of Tolkien, Pratchett and Pullman, which should give you an idea of the flavour of the book we are discussing.
Tracey: Yes, this is really an origins story with a thrilling quest at its heart.
Rachel: We loved the use of oral tradition through the way the tale is told by a travelling bard.
Tracey: Podkin is a legendary figure to those young rabbits listening to the bard’s tale.
Rachel: The tale focuses on Podkin’s rise from lazy son of a chieftain to the hero he becomes.
Tracey: Having fled their home after an attack by the Gorm (reminiscent of the White Walkers in Game of Thrones!), Podkin and his siblings set off on an adventure in which they are supported by some unlikely characters whilst being pursued by the enemy.
Rachel: The book comes to a satisfying and surprising conclusion that we won’t spoil for you, that left us desperate to read part 2. We feel this book could keep any key stage 2 class enthralled, hanging on every word of the teacher reading it.
Thank you. That one also sounds fantastic. I definitely need to find more time for reading. I’m already looking forward to our next post.
If you missed the first in this series of blog posts, it can be found here: https://uniofglos.blog/education/2019/02/06/members-of-our-primary-ite-team-share-some-childrens-literature-with-us-in-their-new-blog-series/