#MGTakesOnThursday…sort of…!

#MGTakesOnThursday was created by Mary over at Book Craic and is a brilliant way to shout about some brilliant MG books!

To join in, all you need to do is:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

So, “#MGTakesOnThursday…sort of?” I hear you ask. Well, I’m cheating this week. Mary, I’m sorry! But I’ve gone rogue (but only this one week, I promise!)

Because this week I haven’t chosen an MG book at all. I’ve chosen…*whispers*…a picture book.

This is a great picture book for any age and younger children will love it of course, BUT it’s one I think has so much potential for use in KS2 so I’m throwing it in here like the maverick that I am! (Promise to follow the rules again next week!)

The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, published by Two Hoots

This book cracked me up. Written in the form of notes and letters between the titular Frederick and free spirit Emily who sees him in his window one day and sends a paper aeroplane up to invite him out to play.

Unfortunately, Frederick is reminded by his mother of the misfortune that struck last time he went for ice cream so he reluctantly, and ever so eloquently, turns Emily down.

Emily is persistent though. Each day, she embarks on a glorious new outdoor adventure – exploring, climbing, swimming – and invites poor cooped up Frederick to accompany her.

Each day, he sends a beautifully written reply declining her offer, reflecting on the calamaties of the past.

And the ending is simply superb! Predictable yet not, it is a fittingly funny end to a super story!

The illustrations are fantastic – delicately detailed and full of the pleasure getting out in the open can bring. I loved how Frederick’s indoor play cleverly mirrors Emily’s escapades outside, but with strikingly different colour palettes and Frederick’s expression and body language vs Emily’s making clear that its really not the same thing!

The use of colour and the way it gradually creeps into Frederick’s pages is very clever, as is the way we see the wild slowly infiltrating Frederick’s refusals and drawing him in (or should that be out?!)

And the expression and emotion in the images is deftly drawn too – from disappointment to joy, wistfulness to abandon.

So, why am I showing you this instead of a typical ‘middle grade’ book?

Because I think as much as younger readers will enjoy this, it’s older readers who’ll really get it. And there is so much to be done with this, for younger readers too, but also for older.

The language for a start.

Frederick’s letters are a scream – fantastically formal and flowery, they are the perfect contrast to Emily’s brief, informal notes. Both would be brilliant to use for looking at letter writing (or email or communication in general!) and the difference between formal and informal tones, as well as for descriptive writing.

Getting kids to write their own formal rsvps with funny or dramatic reasons would be great.

There’s also the paper aeroplanes – get in an afternoon of plane making, paper folding, trial and error, test and hypothesise, measuring, timing and team work.

Then of course there’s the outdoor elements. OK, you probably can’t take them out for a dip in a local lake but take the opportunity to have an outdoor adventure or two – den building, orienteering, scavenger hunting…

This book in three words:

Clever. Funny. Outdoorsy.

My favourite sentence from page 11:

I’d love to know if any of you decide to use or read this book with older children.

Normal service will resume next week!