Top Texts for September

​This month’s Top Texts have been chosen by Prue Goodwin, a freelance specialist in literacy learning and children’s books.

Don't Cross the Line

‘STOP!’ shouts a guard.  ‘I’m very sorry but no-one’s allowed onto the right-hand page.’  In this book every word, line, shape, colour and white space conveys meaning.  The longer you spend exploring each page, the greater your appreciation of the circumstances in which the characters find themselves.  The first end paper introduces the rather submissive-looking characters.  Few of them are smiling.  In fact, many don’t have mouths to smile or speak.  Each group that enters the pages is held back by the guard.  The left-hand page becomes more and more crowded.  Two boys accidentally kick their bright red ball on to the right-hand page.  Now what will happen?  A clever and thought-provoking book which readers of any age can enjoy.  Look at the final end papers; the characters are not subdued anymore but loud, opinionated, unruly, active and free to roam wherever they wish.

Good Dog McTavish

I am not, by nature, a dog person but sometimes one unexpectedly meets a dog deserving of respect.  McTavish is definitely one such dog.  A dog of distinction, a thinker and a canine psychologist of the highest order.  The Peachey family need a pet like McTavish.  Ma Peachey has decided to give up being a mother.  Her husband and children now have no one to provide nourishing meals every day, do the laundry, and, to get them up in time for school and work.  Fortunately, the youngest child, Betty, is aware of her hopeless family and is delighted that McTavish plans to solve the problems in a most original way.  This book is the first in a series of stories about McTavish.  I am about to start reading McTavish Goes Wild and already know that I will enjoy it.

The Drum

As soon as we see the front cover of The Drum, there is no doubt about what we are in for.  Blue skies, dancers and confetti-like shapes representing the beating of a drum all make the reader prepared for the joyousness between the pages of this little book.  It is a book that makes you want to start a carnival; full of exuberant colour, noise and movement.  The words are few but their feeling is deep as we are told to dance, to clap, to stomp and to lose ourselves in the beat of the drum.  So simple, but such a powerful celebration for all to share.  The Drum is ideal for very young children but great fun for all ages – including adults.


About this month's reviewer

September’s Top Texts have been chosen by Prue Goodwin, a freelance specialist in literacy learning and children’s books. She believes that reading for pleasure is an essential element of learning to read.