Monday, March 31, 2014

Little Stupendo by Jon Blake

Our Grade Two classes are looking at different junior book series from our library this term.  So far we have read Poor Fish (Aussie Nibble), My amazing poo plant (Aussie Nibble), Hot Stuff (Solo) and today we read Holly and the Skyboard (Sprinter).

I bought home a small selection of Sprinters to read tonight so I had more titles from this series to recommend to my students.  Here are three I really enjoyed.  It is always exciting to find simple beginner chapter books with satisfying stories.

Little Stupendo is the long suffering daughter of the Great Stupdeno.  It is Little Stupendo who has to repair torn costumes when his tricks don't quite work out but Little Stupendo is tired of this.  She longs to perform dare devil stunts herself.

The Great Stupendo has a new stunt involving a tightrope but he also has a serious rival - Johnny Bravo. When The Great Stupendo upsets his neighbour Mr Chinspot revenge is in the air.  The Great Stupendo has one serious weakness - his fear of spiders.  Meanwhile Little Stupendo has been practicing.  "As the Great Stupendo snored in his bed, Little Stupendo walked the plank.  Then the broomstick. By the light of the moon she crept outside and climbed onto the clothes line.  Bit by bit, she learned how to keep her balance. She even waved to the crowd, except no one was watching."

There are three Sprinter titles featuring Little Stupendo.

Hector the Rat is a completely unconventional fellow. "He was clean. He worked hard.  He was kind." He loves to tidy his room and he has discovered the joy of reading. His family are disgusted and order him to leave the family sewer.  Once above ground Hector meets Charlie and they become instant best friends.

Trouble is Charlie's mum will not allow him to have a pet rat in the house. The most glorious scene in this tiny 60 page book comes when Hector and Charlie are chased back into the sewer pipes. They are being chased by a rat catcher.  "Hector put his hand deep into his pocket. He pulled out some string, a tiny rat-sized torch, a magnetic compass, two boiled sweets, a toothbrush and a piece of paper which he unfolded carefully."

Ulf is a troll who lives in the far North. He loves to eat fingers and he tricks people by offering a friendly greeting as the walk alone on the hills.  As he says "How do you do" the walker would "hold out his or her hand to shake Ulf's.  Then Ulf would take it and, quick as a flash, bite off a finger with his razor sharp teeth and run away as fast as his bow-legs would carry him, chewing like mad and grinning all over his frog-face."

The Finger Eater continues his nasty ways until he meets Gundrun.  She has a solution which will stop this troll from inflicting any more harm on unsuspecting humans. I won't spoil this except to say if you ever find some discarded reindeer antlers (reindeer shed their antlers and grow new ones every year) hold onto them because you never know when they might be quite useful.

We have over 30 Sprinter titles in our school library.  They are part of our Fast Fiction collection and take less than twenty minutes to read aloud.  Perfect for newly independent readers.

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