for adults helping children

learn English as a foreign language

or additional language

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Parent Participation underutilized benefits?

From the Editor -     Opal Dunn


After publishing REALBOOK NEWS for 7 years, it has become evident, from reader’s response and the success of new publications, that picture books now have an accepted place in a many young learner’s classrooms and also in many Teacher Trainer courses. As a University Professor commented, their use is beginning to reach a ‘state of critical mass’. With this in mind, REALBOOK NEWS decided to gather a few REALpictureBOOK enthusiasts together at the Brighton IATEFL Conference and propose to them that it was timely to plan a REALBOOK CONFERENCE. The aim of the Conference would be to act a catalyst to collect recent empirical research as well as review latest methodology and suggest ways forward in early years EFL programmes. The result of this meeting follows with the Prelim Notice on the enclosed yellow handout.


A Conference - Using Picture Books to support early English language acquisition will be held November 19 -21 2004 at the International Youth Library, Schloss (Castle) Blutenburg, Munich, Germany. This Conference – the first of its kind – will be based on Methodology, results of recent research, and aspects of writing, illustrating and publishing. The Conference will be supported by IATEFL, The International Youth Library in Munich, Munich University, London Metropolitan University, REALBOOK NEWS and some publishers who will be sending their authors and illustrators. Further information can be obtained from Leonora Froehlich Ward on .


Some of you may wonder why the term REALBOOKS is not used in the Conference title in place of  picture books. REALBOOKS or authentic books is a common ‘genre name’ used in UK and is not widely understood elsewhere. It is used to differentiate authentic picture books from graded readers, which are used to teach reading to native English speaking children and also, in some cases, children acquiring English as a foreign or additional language. These graded picture books make up the various steps of Reading Schemes which tend to introduce words graded according to readability. Since there are 44 sounds in English and only 26 letters of the alphabet, the selection of words is generally based on a grading of sounds (phonics). This selection, or grading, results in texts using more written style language than the spoken language used by young native speaking children. It is also different from the spoken language most young children are used to hearing and pick-up in the EFL classroom. The text in most REALpictureBOOKs written for young children is authentic spoken language or story language.


The British Council, Warsaw, Poland has organised a one day Conference – Real Books in the Classroom: Using authentic children’s literature in ELT at The Teacher’s Centre, Warsaw on Saturday, January 31, 2004. I shall be there to give the Plenary Introduction and will be followed by speakers from all over Europe including Anneta Sadowska, whose work I mentioned in Issue 13. The British Council will at the same time be holding an interactive exhibition called Imagine showcasing the best of British Children Book Illustrators.


REALBOOK NEWS now includes an additional grading indicating if the book content is suitable for Nursery (N) - up to the age of 6 years, or Primary (P) Level or can be used with either (N/P). In the beginning stages of learning, selection is important if children are to be successful and thus motivated.


The Feature Article discusses Parent participation – underutilised benefits for teachers and children? Children want their parents to participate in what they do and value what their parents say and think. Research now shows the benefit of parent participation. Perhaps we should question whether we give children sufficient, well selected, enjoyable opportunities to share at home with their parents. REALpictureBOOKS, that have been read in class, are a natural way to share participation in English.

Feature ArticleParent participation – underutilised benefits?

‘As teachers of primary-aged children, we have found out that learning is most successful when home and school are working together. …… This is particularly true in the teaching of a foreign language.’ Anne Farren and Richard Smith in Bringing it home * 

What ‘home’ says or even thinks about how a child is achieving at school is important to the child’s self-esteem and consequently his self-motivation. Many children spend most one-to-one time at home with their parents, siblings and members of the extended family and like to please them and hear their praise for what they do. ‘Sasha’s in the school play and he has to say something in English. He’s getting very good in English,’ mother told grandpa over the phone within Sasha’s hearing. Imagine how proud Sasha felt and what affect this has on his attitude to English at school. Conversely if parents are not pleased with the way English is being taught at school, their criticism can be felt by the child, even if it is not actually verbalised in front of them.


 Good liaison between the school and home is very important if participation is to be successful and beneficial for the child. Many parents show more interest in English and the way it is taught than in other subjects like History or Music. This could be because many parents are innate language teachers who have already successfully taught their children to speak their ‘home’ language. Some parents who began English in Secondary School, and learned through grammatical analysis methods, may expect their young children to learn in the same way and initially may be sceptical of Primary School language acquisition methods.



Before children start learning English as a foreign language it is useful for parents to have some brief explanation, either in the form of an English News Letter or through an informal meeting, about the following:

1)      How young children pick-up English Young children pick-up English using many of the same skills they used when their parents were teaching them how to speak their home language. Much of what children say in English initially will be single words or blocks of language. Girls may be quicker than boys to use English and it is not helpful to make comparisons (Issue 11). At this stage parents should not expect them to know anything about the grammatical rules of their utterances or even how many words they comprise. (eg What-are-you-doing?)

2)      Parents’ participation   Support at home in English should be similar to that which parents gave when they were helping their children to begin to speak their home language. Support can take place at regular time in the day (eg an English Time or English Book Time) or at any time when the child shows he wants to speak English (eg the child starts a rhyme and mother and child go on together). It should always be a fun time and not be associated with formal Homework tasks.

3)      Links to activities   There has to be some logical reason for the child to use English instead of his home language; an English language based activities can provide this. Using English language to communicate is only part of the learning that takes place whilst participating in activities. Activities can also broaden the child socially, cognitively, emotionally, creatively and even in some cases physically. In any English based activity there is usually some cultural content that naturally leads to comparisons of differences and similarities. Learning English for the young child is not ‘a subject’ like Geography or Maths; it is about communicating in another code and broadening at the same time.


Types of participation

The degree of participation allowed by Education Authorities or Individual Schools varies from country to county. In some countries the system of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) is not allowed.

Even if formal parent participation is restricted, some form of sharing between the child’s two worlds of home and school is natural for the child and, if positive, can also be beneficial. Parents often encourage sharing by asking, ‘What did you learn in English today?’ The parent should not be disappointed if the child replies ‘played a game’ in home language, as it difficult for the child to repeat odd new phrases in English that are not linked to an activity or some action that is going on.  


Bringing home Realpicturebooks-


Allowing and encouraging parents to participate in natural ways should be a benefit for the teacher in that another older person is spending one-to-one time to hear the child use English, discuss his interests and encourage him. It also provides the parents with an opportunity to participate in something the child is doing at school and show him that they, too. like to learn English. Young children whose parents are involved in their learning make significantly more progress than those who are not.  Dr Maria Evangelou and Professor Kathy Sylva* The parent’s role model in sharing English picture books may do more than support; it may be inspirational creating a life-long love of English, art and books.              

                                                                                                            C Opal Dunn


*Bringing it home -  Farren and Smith  published by CILT ISBN 1-904243-19-3             £9.00


*The effects of Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) on Children’s Developmental            Progress - Evangelou and Sylva - Dept of Educational Studies, Oxford University

12 BOOKS for Nursery and Primary (front cover)

You Choose    Author Pippa Goodhart     Illus: Nick Sharrat                 N/P Level 1a

Doubleday         Hardback      ISBN 0-385-60176-X                                £10.99

Imagine If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Imagine you get into a balloon and fly on top of the world. Where would you go? You choose.

Let’s go to the jungle! says the boy in the balloon and the girl adds I want to see the city! What would you choose from the large selection which includes a desert, a popping off volcano and sandy beaches and so on, each with their own atmospheric, funky pictures to catch your attention? The choice is yours! Turn over to the next spread Who would you like for family and friends? Faced with over 70 different fun-to-count minimal portraits it is difficult to decide, but again the boy and girl start you off talking I want her for my friend. Can he be my grandpa?

Over 12 spreads you are asked to think about what kind of home you would choose, what clothes you would like, what you would like to eat, and even what sort of bed you would like to sleep in. This book is like a fun pictorial themed dictionary, and is best introduced one spread at a time. Not surprising that it took Nick Sharratt 2 years to complete his lively illustrations. This book sparks the imagination of most children who soon have something to say as they make their choices. A natural follow-up is to make individual My Choice Books answering all or some of the questions and adding illustrations. This is a great book for browsing over individually or with family. Each time you read it, you can let you imagination fly as you select yet another choice when You choose!

 Fish Go Woof   Author- Illus: Miranda Maxwell-Hyslop                                 N/P Level 1a

Hodder Children’s         Novelty/Hardback      ISBN 0-340-87338-8       £10.99p

Teaching animal noises in English is always a little difficult and to some young children it may not seem logical that, although the animal is marking the same noise, we say it differently in English. Here is a book that apart from being great fun helps you over this problem. At first glance you might think it is just another mix and match novelty book where the pages are cut into three sections, but it has much more to offer. On the inside back cover there is a pictorial index identifying all the animals and their noises that can be used as a start-off point and later as a self-check for any child playing the game that this book can be made into. So tigers go roar! Look at the cheeky tiger licking its lips and nearly winking at you in spite of being cut into three sections length wise, with one word on each section. Fit one tiger section together with a section from donkeys go hee-haw and another from fish go blub and you have tigers-go-blub – what a laugh! Once children know the 15 animals and their sounds, they can play by themselves for hours making nonsense animals or self-correcting until they get an animal right (a Montessori-like activity). The lively animal illustrations are complimented by patterns on the reverse sides which match when you have got the 3 parts of the animal together correctly; yet another feature of this cleverly constructed novelty book. Ideal for book corners and as children browse, they’ll naturally enjoy making the animal noises in English!

Next Please Author Ernst Jandl Illustrator Norman Junge                    N/P Level 1a Red Fox        Paperback           ISBN 0-09-943933-6                                    £4.99

First published in Munich in 1970 this book still remains a favourite with children. Set in what is a common experience - a Doctor’s waiting room, the Doctor turns out to be a Doctor who specialises in toys and the five waiting patients are all toys! One by one the toys file in to see the Doctor Next please. One goes in. (Turn the page.) Two waiting. (Turn the page.) and the door shuts.

But Door opens. One comes out .and he looks so much better and happy, too. Going to the Doctor might be a good thing to do after all! (Turn the page.) Next, please. One goes in. and so it continues until Next please. Last one goes in .and the reader can finally see the Doctor who is making all the toys better! The illustrations are set in the same waiting room which enables the reader to count the sorry-looking patients whose faces show remarkable feelings as they wait patiently. The last toy to go in is a Pinocchio-like boy, who has broken his nose. Can the Doctor fix this? Most of the story is carried in the detailed pictures making this a good book for the first lessons in English.

Find-a-Saurus      Author Mark Sperring Illus A Steele-Morgan       NP/Level 2

Chicken House Hardback           ISBN 1-903434-94-2                     £10.99


This book by a new author and illustrator will appeal to any child interested in Dinosaurs. Marty is crazy about Dinosaurs and says he wants to go for a stroll with a Stegosaurus … have burger and chips with a Brachiosaurus and watch TV with a Tyrannosaurus! Although his mother has told him that dinosaurs no longer exist, Marty feels there must be some dinosaurs somewhere. I think they’re just in hiding. So Marty started to look everywhere under the bed, in the bathroom cabinet, under the table, in the lily pond, in the garden shed, then he found an enormous footprint. Whose was it? Well it wasn’t a dinosaur’s. May be one day I’ll find one ….. I just know I will said Marty. A tale about never giving up accompanied by vibrant colourful illustrations including a fold-out dragon spread.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

In the Dark, Dark, Wood  Illustrated Jessica Souhami                        N/P Level 1a

Frances Lincoln            Paperback           ISBN 0-7112-1692-4              £5.99

A shortened version of the traditional rhyme illustrated with colourful, clear illustrations that are likely to stimulate children’s imagination and creative ideas.

Im going to tell you a really spooky story, so listen carefully to me …….

In the dark, dark wood,/ There was a dark, dark house, Hoo-hoo-hoo! Haa-haa-haa!  Although you cannot open the front door, lift-up-flaps make it possible for the reader to open the ground floor, first floor and attic windows and see the frightening animals waiting for them! Turn the page and you are into the dark, dark room and then turn over again to the dark, dark cupboard, then the dark, dark shelf and turn again to find the box on that shelf and finally on the last page you find the ghost who lives in the box. Watch out for the scary hand that beckons you on each page. Children enjoy joining in the chorus  Hoo-hoo-hoo Haa-haa-haa from the first time you read it aloud and soon pick up the repetitive language. A fun book for browsing over and short enough for children to copy to make their own books, with or without the flaps, but with the scary white hand that beckons you on each spread.

Rosie’s Walk    Author- Illustrator  Pat Hutchins                                 N/P Level 1a

Mini Treasures                       Paperback         ISBN 0-09-945673-7      £1.50

This is a mini-picture book edition of the well-known classic by award-winning Pat Hutchins. First published in 1968, this children’s pocket sized book costs only £1.50 – less than many birthday cards…… This is the story of Rosie, a beautiful brown and yellow hen. Rosie, the hen went for a walk. (Turn the page) across the yard, (turn the page) around the pond ….over the haystack ….past the mill….through the fence …..under the beehives and all this time she was so confident she never  looked round to see if any one was following her. On each spread a sly old Fox manages to gets closer to Rosie and the reader might think that on the final spread Rosie will being gobbled up by the Fox, but no! Rosie got back in time for dinner. The very detailed illustrations show what really happened. This easy-to-pick-up text, rich in prepositions of place, makes this a great story for children who know about country-life and bees!

My nose, your nose                 Author-Illustrator Melanie Walsh      N/P Level 1a

Picture Corgi       Paperback           ISBN 0-552-54766-2                          £5.99

Melanie Walsh introduces the reader to children of about the same age but from different racial back grounds comparing sensitively their differences and similarities and making readers appreciative of their own individuality.  

Arthur’s hair is brown and straight. Kit’s hair is black and curly. But…. they both hate washday! showing them side by side with their hair full of shampoo.

Arthur’s nose turns up as Arthur sniffs a piece of cake. Agnes’s nose turns down. But…..  they both like the smell of chocolate cake! – showing them by a chocolate birthday cake.

Agnes has blue eyes. Kit’s eyes are brown. Arthur has grey eyes. Daisy’s eyes are green. But …..they all close their eyes when they go to sleep and the final spread shows all 4 children fast asleep in the same bed. A sensitive introduction to the names of parts of the face and body, which children enjoy.

I know a Rhino             Author-Illustrator Charles Fuge                         N/PLevel1b

Gullane Children’s Books      Paperback       ISBN 1-86233-485-4                  £4.99

A fun, animal adventure in easy-to-pick-up rhyme by an award-winning illustrator. This is a story of a child who has his own fun with a selection of animals including a rhino, a pig, an ape, a hippo, a dragon, a giraffe, a bear and a leopard.

I know a Hippo and when she’s not bus,/We spin round and round until we get dizzy

I know a Leopard who loves fancy dress,/A suit and a tie and a top hat looks best. But how does he know them so well?

These are my friends I know them, you see/ I know them quite well ….and we see them all going up stairs and then turn the page …. Because they live with me and there they all are asleep with him but instead of being real animals that were going up the stairs, they are the little child’s soft cuddly toys!

Many younger primary children’s soft toys are still to be found on their beds…..  this could be why this story appeals to them, too!

Go Away Mr Wolf! Author Mathew Price  Illus Atsuko Morozumi       N/P Level 1b

Mathew Price      Paperback                     ISBN 1-84248-052-9                          £4.99

Two original interactive stories for young children in the same book. The first with doors to be opened tells a new version of the Three Little Pigs. Anyone for ice cream? said a furry friendly voice from outside the door. Open the door and you find Mr Wolf standing there disguised as an Ice cream seller. Go away, Mr Wolf, said the three little pigs. And they quickly shut the door. Next time Mr Wolf appeared as a driver with a smart car and so the story unfolds until there is a different voice at the door, An body home? and the three little pigs open the door to find their father standing there.

The second is an action counting story about The Old Alligator who snapped up three little ducks, one by one. However, an elephant passing by, dealt with the alligator in a most amusing way. Appropriate hand actions accompany this easy-to-pick-up fun story ideal for a class show.

Super Dooper Jezebel      Author/Illustrator Tony Ross                        N/P Level 1b

Anderson Press    Paperback          ISBN 1-84270-096-0                                           £4.99

Her name is Jezebel but she is called Super Dooper Jezebel, because she does everything super dooper perfectly. May be you already know a super dooper child?

Jezebel was always super doper neat. She always keeps her room tidy. At school, she was the best at everything. She could do up buttons and tie up real bows on her lace-ups. She ate up all her meals AND she never picked her nose (See Dirty Bertie Issue 13)

Jezebel told other children not to do things …. because it was nice to be perfect. But one day the other children saw danger when Jezebel did not. Although they called out to her, Come on, Jezebel… She replied You mustn’t run, it’s against the rules! I ALWAYS walk nicely! And she continued on her way.  

A crocodile has escaped from the Zoo the children shouted as they ran away. CLUMP! It was too late and now there was no more Super Doper Jezebel to tell children how to behave. This soft approach to     good manners and bad behaviour supported by humorous outline drawings provides a useful lead into discussions on ways of doing the same things, but in different cultures.  `

The Animals went in two by two.  Illustrator Jan Pienkowski                 N/PLevel1b

Walker Books  Novelty/Hardback           ISBN 0-7445-9267-4                        £9.99

If you don’t know this traditional song, which has been slightly adapted, it’s worth learning it from the words with music on the back cover. You’ll have great fun singing it together whilst playing with the  flap-ups, pull-downs, wheels and paper sculptures that make this an exciting interpretation of the story of Mr and Mrs Noah and their crew of animals who all went into the Ark for to get out of the rain. The story is not just about getting into the ark. Once the animals are on the ark what did they do?  The animals went in four by four. The great stegosaurus stuck in the door and how did Mrs Noah cope with that situation? The animals went in six by six. The bears and the monkey played all sorts of tricks and pull down the flap to find the monkey guzzling bananas, whilst Mr Noah slips on a banana skin and a camel watches with a wry smile wearing a cute hat made out of a banana skin. There is so much to this book from identifying which four animals went into the Ark together to finding out which animals hung up their socks to dry on the line. A great book, Hoorah! Hoorah! and If you want any

more you can sing it again. Ideal for a puppet show or an end of term concert.

Conjuror Cow  Author Julia Davidson Illustrator Nick Sharratt  NP/Level Ib

Puffin          Novelty/Paperback                ISBN 0-14-056848-4              £4.99

Everyone’s waiting. The lights have gone low. So open the curtains…. (turn the half flap to add suspense) … and on with show! Join the animals in the audience and wait for Conjuror Cow’s magnificent magic show to begin. Abracadabra and Rat-a-tat-tat! I can make a white rabbit…. (turn the half page)…come out of this hat. But oh dear, no white rabbit popped out of the top hat, but a bunch of flowers instead. Abracadabra excuse my mistake. I’ll make that white rabbit ……turn the half page) come out of this cake!  But no white rabbit! Twice more Conjuror Cow tried and finally the audience shouted Open your cloak Conjuror Cow.  Yes! Open it now! And Conjuror Cow did and guess what was inside. Lots of white rabbits taking a bow!  A delightful well rounded story told in easy to understand rhyming language by award- winning Julia Davidson. Nick Sharrat’s fun illustrations create the feeling of theatre showing how the animal audience reacts to each scene. A wonderful beginning from which individual or class drama can develop naturally, if encouraged with a few simple props.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 12 BOOKS for Primary (back cover)

Animal Fair                    Author- Illus: Anthony Browne                          P/Level 1b

Walker            Novelty/Hardback    ISBN 0-7445-8829-4                       £12.99p

The Award-winning artist Anthony Browne has enriched this traditional story rhyme with every known trick in paper engineering giving the reader all sorts of humorous surprises making the story come alive.          

I went to the animal fair./The birds and the beast were there/.The big baboon by the light of the moon/ Was combing his auburn hair. The monkey fell out of his bunk/ And slid down the elephant’s trunk,/The elephant sneezed Ahhhh Chooo!/And fell on his knees,/And what became of the monkey, monkey, monkey, monkey, monkey……?

Music inside the front cover makes this into a song suitable for end of term shows or just having fun in class. This is an exciting book to play with and browse over the detailed colourful illustrations that give the atmosphere of a traditional Fair Ground with the usual rides. The short text makes it ideal for older Primary children beginning English and especially those who may find not being able to speak English slightly frustrating. (Issue 10)  A word of warning – the paper pop-ups, turn rounds, pull outs need careful handling as they are fragile, but they are great fun.

Skeleton Hiccups   Author Margery Cuyler Illus: S.D/Schindler              P/Level 1a

Simon & Schuster Pocket Books Paperback     ISBN 0-743-46210-6     £4.99

This story is about a skeleton who had hiccups hic, hic, hic hiccups and wanted to get rid of it. He brushed his teeth, hic, hic, hic. Carved a pumpkin, hic, hic, hic .Played with a ghost. Ghost told skeleton, Hold your breath. Eat some sugar. Drink some water But still the skeleton could not get rid of his hiccups. Then the ghost got clever. Found a mirror. Held it up and guess what happened and how? A great book if skeletons are acceptable in local society and you yourself are into skeletons. Simple text in narrative past, frightening, clear spooky illustrations that are likely to please boys and make them feel that learning English is cool after all!

The Hairy Book          Author-Illustrator Babette Cole                           P/Level 1a

Red Fox            Paperback    ISBN 0-09-943425-3                                 £4.99

Award winning Babette Cole gives us another taste of her special ludicrous insight to life. Her humorous text supported by her detailed outline drawings are sure to amuse most Primary kids and especially boys as it is a little boy who recounts his encounters – nice and peculiar – with hair.

 Hair, hair, all kinds of hair. Hair on your head… and hair elsewhere……. And so he lists and records through hysterically detailed illustrations all the funny and unexpected places in which he encounters hair or hairy things.

Hairy socks and hairy shirts, Hairy nice and hairy scary…….Hairy fruit and hairy bread…. Hairy things beneath the bed, Hairy big and hairy small and after all that he sums up his own hairy situation taking off his little woollen hat to show that he has no hair at all. Read it to see if this made him glad or sad! A great book for stimulating dialogue and creativity.

 Let’s look at families  Author Barbara Hunter                                P/Level 1a

Heinemann Library                Paperback ISBN 0-431-16258-1                £4.99

You may find that older children find that having to learn names for members of their family slightly boring. This book cleverly relates family names to famous paintings and sculpture introducing families from around the world. Through the dimension of photographs of art children can broaden their interests and creativity. The simple text encourages the reader to look more carefully at the painting.

 This Mummy and child is carved out of stone. (Maternity by Henry Moore 1924)

This family asked the artist to paint a picture of them. (The Capel Family by Cornelius Johnson c 1640) There were no cameras when this was painted.

A good book to have in a Book Corner as children will enjoy returning again and again to browse over the pictures.

 Colours in Nature - Red       Author Lisa Bruce                                                P/Level 1a

Heinemann Library                Paperback ISBN 0-431-17235-8               £4.99

A wonderful cross curricular experience that should stimulate creativity! Through exploring the natural world in photographs the reader is exposed to Red food, Red for danger, Red in Autumn, Red in Winter ,Red flowers, Red rocks, Red sky and Changing colour- strawberries changing from Green to Red

This series also covers Blue, Green and Yellow. The beauty of the photographs is impressive and should make children more conscious of their environment. A good way for older children to learn colour names, which often they find boring.

The First Day at School  Author-Illustrator Yvonne Jagtenberg            P/Level 1b

Cat’s Whiskers (Watts)   Hardback         ISBN 1-9030125-62                £4.99

Originally written in Dutch then translated into English, this book about a boy’s first day at school will help children relive some of their own experiences. The outlined crayon drawings convey great feeling in their simplicity. Children find them easy to decode and many may want to copy them.

The teacher introduced him. This is Leo. He’s new. All the children looked at Leo. Leo thought he would like to go home. A girl took him by the hand. Leo wasn’t sure about this.

Then it was time for gym. They had to get undressed. Leo wanted to keep his clothes on.

Then they sang Little Red Riding Hood.  Today Leo can be the wolf.

And Little Red Riding Hood sang: I’m not afraid of the big, bad wolf, I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid!

But They were all afraid of the wolf. All except Leo. He wasn’t afraid. Although Leo wanted to be the wolf again, the other children wanted to play with Leo and not the wolf. Through this story you can get inside a classroom and see what happens and discuss the similarities with and differences from your own situation. Make sure that children know the story of Little Red Riding Hood in their home language before you read the book.

Groovy animal a b c                         bang on the door                        NP/Level  1a

Oxford University Press               Paperback           ISBN 0-19-279121-4        £4.99

Groovy illustrations introduce an ABC of animals. But naming the animals in alphabetical order is not all. There is something more to say about each animal. This is a fun way to get over the difficulty of learning ABC when you are an older Primary School child.

Inside Mary Elizabeth’s House   Author-Illus Pamela Allen                     P/Level 1b

Puffin                       Paperback         ISBN 0-14-056711-9                       £4.99

On Monday morning, on the way to school, Mary Elizabeth said to the boys, There’s a monster at my house. Award winning Pamela Allen’s books have earned classic status through their enduring popularity. This is just another of her outstanding stories illustrated with her remarkably detailed outlined drawings.

We don’t believe you the boys said. They don’t believe me she said.

On Tuesday morning she repeated the same story and began to describe the monster’s blood shot eyes and sharp pointy teeth. He’s rough and he’s rowdy and he jumps on my bed.

We don’t believe you, the boys said. On Wednesday …On Thursday and still the boys didn’t believe her so she invited them to her house for dinner. Knock! Knock! Knock! What’s for dinner? Mary Elizabeth smiled her sweet smile. Come in she said and see……. Now they believe me she said

This story gives you a change to use the days of the week, time and numbers in a natural way. It also gives children an opportunity to think and even draw ‘The Monster that might live at their friend’s house’! This story stimulates different reactions, especially from girls imagining themselves to be Mary.

Oxford First Rhyming Dictionary  Illus John Foster                           P/Level 1b

Oxford University Press   Paperback       ISBN o-19-910924-9              £6.99

When Mum picks up her bag, Our dog’s tail starts to wag Back and forth like a flag.

The importance of rhymes in understanding the sounds that make up words cannot be under estimated. Recent research stresses the importance of knowing rhymes as a basis to all work in reading with phonics. This Rhyming Dictionary is something special, as it gives children time to browse over all the rhyming sounds, see them in rhyming words and then, the bonus, enjoy the rhyme that goes with the sounds. Colourful pictures help to confirm the meaning of the rhymes. Children soon pick-up the rhymes and love to auto-dictate them; a fun way to learn spelling.

The magician flicks his wand, Clicks his fingers, And out of his empty hat he picks, Six fluffy little chicks.

These simple rhymes can provide a starting point for writing rhymes as a class activity. Certainly the dictionary will come in useful for checking rhyming word families.

All Kinds of Feelings              Illustrator Emma Brownjohn                    P/Level 1b

Tango                   Novelty/Hardback         ISBN 1-85707-596-X              £8.99

Another winner in the lift-the-flap multicultural series by Tango Publishers following on from All Kinds of People (Issue 7) and All Kinds of Bodies (Issue 13). Through reading and looking at the pictures in this book children will have a chance to recognise some of their own feelings and begin to understand that they are normal and acceptable and that other people also have the same sort of feelings (Reading about Feelings Feature Article Issue 9)

Sometimes we feel happy. Sometimes we feel sad. Sometimes we feel friendly. Sometimes we feel good about ourselves .But other times we feel ashamed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Somedays we feel like tidying the room …..

Sometimes we feel we want to be very busy. Other times we want to chill out.

Sometimes we want to see our friends Other times we want to be alone. Sometimes we feel angry with our family…….


Everyone has feelings. Feelings can be very different from day to day. Open the flower and read the message on each of the 6 petals Its good to talk about your feelings to friends and family. And finally play the feeling Game on the last page. A great book that helps children explore feelings in a natural way. It also   helps children to find out how to read other people’s feelings by their facial expressions. Through this book you can give children an opportunity to read and talk about their feelings openly and this can change their relationship with you as teacher and their friends.

A Cat and a Dog    Author- Claire Masurel  Illus: Bob Kolar                        P/Level 1a

North-South         Paperback                         ISBN 0-7358-1780-4           £4.99

Written by the author of Ten Dogs in the Window (Issue 7) this story is about a dog and cat who lived in the same house but were sworn enemies. They fought over everything and always played on their own. Chewing, chasing, rolling, catching. Then one day something terrible happened. OH, NO! There was absolutely nothing they could do. Nothing? Well there was something and the result was that now they are the best of friends. A simple story, simply told about how all of us need good friends and how stupid it is to quarrel over little things. The beautifully designed spreads with cartoon-like images of the cat and a dog are inspirational to children who soon try to copy them. Easy-to-read text, which children soon pick-up and know by heart. A good addition to any classroom Book Corner.

House of Inventions      Author-Illus: Robert Crowther                           P/Level 2`

Walker                Novelty/Hardback         ISBN 0-7445-6193-0              £12.99

Hundred’s of fabulous facts about where you live this book takes you through the five basic living rooms in all western homes the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom and the garage telling you on flaps up when the most important things were invented.

The first kitchens date back to prehistoric times when man prepared food over an open fire.

The final spread lists Some of the inventions that changed our lives dividing them into columns.

 Winnie’s New Computer  Author Valerie Thomas Illus: Korky Paul      P/Level 2

Oxford University Press     Hardback   ISBN 0-19-279129-X                             £10.99

For Winnie The Witch fans this is story No 5 about Winnie and her cat Wilbur. Winnie is keeping up with the times; she now has new computer that is Magic. Winnie plugged in the computer, turned it on, and clicked the mouse. Come on, mouse, she said.

Is that a mouse? thought Wilbur. It doesn’t look like one.

Winnie went on to the internet, I want to order a new wand! said Winnie. She ordered her new wand and then she visited They had some very funny jokes. As the day went on Winnie became more and more satisfied with her computer. She even went as far as to scan her spells into it and throw her Book of Spells into the dustbin. But that night things went wrong. While Winnie was sleeping, Wilbur went into the computer room to play with the mouse and accidentally turned on the computer. What did Winnie discover when she came down for breakfast next morning? An excellent story for computer literate Primary children and teachers too, as they will understand the story and sympathise with Winnie’s computer dramas. For children who have experience with computers and know about computer language the story text is easy to understand and useful, too. Korky Paul’s illustrations are true to style; detailed, humorous and full of imaginative ideas.


·        Recommends suitable books for Beginners

·        Includes a FEATURE ARTICLE on matters relevant to REALpictureBOOKS.

·        Selects books from any publisher - big or small.

·        Selects books that YLs can or will soon be able to read.

·        Prints a Book List of all fiction and non-fiction books introduced in back Issues 1-10.

·        Prints a Supplement for VERY Young Learners.

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REALBOOK NEWS  published in May and November


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REALBOOK NEWS aims to help adults select suitable picture books (fiction and non-fiction)

for  young children beginning to learning English as a foreign language or additional language.




·        Recommends suitable books

·        Includes a FEATURE ARTICLE on matters relevant to REALpictureBOOKS.

·        Selects books from any publisher - big or small

·        Selects books that YLs can or will soon be able to read

·        Prints a Book List of all fiction and non-fiction books introduced in back Issues 1- 9.