The Whisper

“There are never any rules,
rights or wrongs in imagining – imagining just is.”

The children in Key Stage 1 have just come to the end of studying The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski and we have been reflecting on the amazing journey it has taken us on. The key theme was of imagination and the children’s was caught beautifully through the intricate illustrations. They were quickly hooked into looking for the seemingly endless tiny details.

The story begins with a little girl being lent a special book by her teacher.  As she excitedly runs home all of the words fall out. She is crestfallen and her disappointment was shared by the class as we began to read the book.  However, she soon hears a small voice whisper that she can imagine her own words and stories. Here begins her magical journey of learning how to write stories – and ours in classes 1,2 and 3 as well.

We have crossed enchanted lands and completed many challenges in our quest to become better writers over the last few weeks. We have learned some of Aesop’s fables, found facts about bees and foxes and even rehearsed poetry by Longfellow (who you may remember from your own school days – he wrote the Hiawatha poem). The children have been inspired to write monologues, diary entries, prayers, invitations, menus, letters and – of course – their own stories. It has been a great pleasure to see the children take to heart the message that there “are no rights or wrongs in imagining”; their confidence as creative writers has soared.





Mrs Oshungbure
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Redbridge Children’s Book Award

We are pleased to be taking part in this year’s award to select the favourite children’s book from a shortlist provided by Redbridge Library. The list includes 15 titles that will particularly appeal to readers aged 8 and above. The full list can be found here  under Children’s Long List.

We would love as many children – and parents – as possible to take part by reading any of the shortlisted books and letting us know their opinion. Please send any reviews of the books for the attention of Mrs Oshungbure who will be collating them; be sure to award the books marks out of 10 so that we can assess each title’s popularity.

Redbridge Children’s Book Award Nominees

Boy Underwater, Adam Baron
Secrets of a Sun King, Emma Carroll
Jelly, Jo Cotterill
Tin, Padraig Kenny
Gabriel and the Phantom Sleepers, Jenny Nimmo
The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree, Paola Peretti
The Boy at the Back of the Class, Onjali Rauf
The Book Case, Dave Shelton
I Swapped my Brother on the Internet, Jo Simmons
Night Speakers, Ali Sparkes
Child I, Steve Tasane
The Light Jar, Lisa Thompson
The Last Chance Hotel, Nicki Thornton
The Lost Magician, Piers Torday
The 1,000 Year Old Boy, Ross Welford




Beetle Boy

Do you love adventure books? Fast-paced, exciting ones that scoop you up at the beginning and spin you into their mysterious world like a magical web but – all too soon – thrillingly spit you out at the end, feeling exhilarated and yearning for more? Great, you’re in the right place…

Even the most reluctant reader would find Beetle Boy difficult to put down. This is a detective story with brave characters so well-drawn that you will find yourself wishing they were your friends. If you are a lover of the repugnant villains to be found in Roald Dahl and David Walliams’ stories, then you will find Lucretia Cutter a wonderfully imagined character equally dreadful and dastardly!

The backdrop of heroic beetles is original and I was fascinated to learn more about this species; the author has clearly thoroughly researched and grown to love them. I found myself sneaking in a few pages of this fabulous book at the oddest times just so that I could find out what happened next.  As the book concluded, I didn’t want to leave the wondrous world MG Leonard had created. Thankfully, Beetle Boy is the first of a trilogy and I have now enjoyed all three titles – each as mysterious and well-written as the first. You are in for a treat!

Mrs Oshungbure

The World’s Worst Children 2

Five stars!

The brilliant follow up to David Walliams’ bestseller The World’s Worst Children. A hilarious book that has a gang of mischievous children and plenty of monstrous tantrums! In this book, you will see that there are not only nice boys and girls in the world but also beastly boys and gruesome girls. With a chapter for each child’s story, my favourites were Humbert the Hungry Baby and Spoiled Brad. We are lucky that these two horrible characters are not real or we would be in big trouble!

This would make an ideal birthday or Christmas present. David Walliams’ writing won’t just make you giggle, it will make you laugh your heart out!

Sophie, Y5

Sky Hawk

Sky Hawk

One of my favourite books!

This book has thrilling action, sadness, happiness, excitement and romance. It is perfect because it has cliff hangers and ends with page turners. I chose this book in a library just by reading the blurb and read up to two chapters a day.

It is about a boy called Callum who lives on a farm. He spots a girl who is trying to catch a fish and manages it first try; she is called Iona. She becomes one of Callum’s best friends but unfortunately his other two friends make fun of Iona and Callum struggles to manage these relationships. Iona has a secret that she can’t trust anyone else with but Callum – she has found an osprey nesting on the farm.

Iona sadly passes away with summer ‘flu leaving Callum feeling desperately lost. He finds comfort in caring for the osprey and this leads him to make unlikely friendships all the way in Africa! I would recommend reading this book because it helps you when you have sad times in life and you can’t take advice from anyone else. I enjoyed this book and class it as one of my favourites.

Lani, Y5

Perfect book gifts

Adding books to Christmas stockings is a must, but which books will actually be read and loved? Whilst we’re all grateful to David Walliams for having a new title ready just in time for the festive shopping once again (and if you haven’t read it yet, The Ice Monster is another winner!), wouldn’t it be lovely for our children to branch out and discover new favourite authors?

As teachers, we are fortunate to enjoy frequent book discussions with children who have a variety of literary tastes and interests but you may not know that we also read a lot of children’s fiction ourselves. Afterall, one of the best ways to encourage children to read is to rave about what we have just enjoyed too!

So, if you’re looking for a stocking filler that comes highly recommended, look no further. You will find the books grouped as Early Readers (for children within the first year or two of reading independently), Starting to Fly (able to tackle longer chapter books) and Soaring with Confidence (for accomplished readers). We hope you find it useful and welcome your comments and suggestions at the bottom.

Soaring with Confidence

Beetle Boy, M G Leonard
Fish in a Tree, Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The Last Wild, Piers Torday
The House with Chicken Legs, Sophie Anderson
The 1000 Year Old Boy, Ross Welford
Sky Hawk, Gill Lewis
Welcome to Nowhere, Elizabeth Laird
Letters from the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll
Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
The Explorer, Katherine Rundell
Pax, Sara Pennypacker
There are further recommendations longlisted in the Redbridge Children’s Book Award here.

Starting to Fly

The Parent Agency, David Baddiel
A Boy Called Christmas or The Girl Who Saved Christmas, Matt Haig
The Creakers or The Christmasaurus, Tom Fletcher
The Girl with the Lost Smile, Miranda Hart
The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes, Peter Brown
Julius Zebra, Gary Northfield
Kensuke’s Kingdom, Michael Morpurgo
Dead Man’s Cove, Lauren St John
The Last Chance Hotel, Nicki Thornton

Early Readers

Swallows and Spiders, Julia Donaldson
Mudpuddle Farm, Michael Morpurgo
The Bolds, Julian Clary
Claude, Alex T. Smith
The Truth Pixie, Matt Haig
Wigglesbottom Primary, Becka Moor & Pamela Butchart
Little Legends, Tom Percival
Lottie Lipton Adventures, Dan Metcalf
Captain Pug, Laura James
Uncle Gobb, Michael Rosen
Bananas in my Ears, Michael Rosen
Betsey Biggalow, Marjorie Blackman
Roald Dahl (shorter books include The Twits and Billy and the Minpins)
Winnie the Witch chapter books (e.g. Winnie Takes the Plunge), Laura Owen & Korky Paul
Paddington, Michael Bond
Oliver Moon, Sue Mongredien

Thank you,
Mrs Oshungbure

Fish in a Tree

A big-hearted book that leaves you determined to be a better person. Written simply, this is a perfect tale for every child able to read independently. 

I read Fish in a Tree on a train journey through the Canadian Rockies and found it as inspiring as the striking landscape I travelled through. Ally is a Year 6 child who believes the mountains she needs to climb at school are just too great, so she stops trying.  Rather than feel defeated in her studies, she puts all her effort into defeating the will of her teachers and ends up deeper and deeper in trouble. She finds friendships difficult, her self-esteem is so battered and her behaviour so isolating that others don’t seek out her company. It seems that her life is on a downward spiral and nobody, including Ally, can find a way to turn things around.

Mr Daniels, a new teacher, arrives – full of cheer and positivity. He offers the clean slate that Ally so desperately needs: here is her opportunity to try a new approach. She stumbles many times but rather than berate her, Mr Daniels gently wins her trust and encourages her. He notices her dyslexia for the first time and guides her through a new learning journey that transforms Ally’s school experience. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

Fish in a Tree is a warm hug of a book that reminds us of the responsibility we all hold in how we treat others. Every day, we can lift those around us with a kind word or gesture and this beautiful book leaves you wanting to find opportunities to be a better person. It is written simply, making it accessible to all children who are independent readers. I would also urge parents to enjoy this book; not only is it a delightful read but a vital one.
Be brave; be different!

Mrs Oshungbure