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This story sees the return of young Harry and his family, who readers may be familiar with from The More the Merrier. This time Harry has blackmailed his Uncle Tristram to taking him along on holiday whilst the kitchen he mistakenly burned down is repaired. The holiday begins in high spirts, that is until on the ferry to the remote British Island the ferry man warns them “Glerhus Dill Slotbug!” They are unsure what this means until things start to turn out differently to what they expect from a holiday. Uncle Tristram and Harry stay with Tristram’s new girlfriend Morning Glory, who when they arrive is ‘sitting quietly in the presence of the apple.’ Morning Glory is an appealing and slightly eccentric character, who feeds them nettles for dinner and takes them to find angels. The only interests for young Harry are the variety of beards being grown for the annual Best Beard on the Island competition and the prospect of eating things on sticks at the end of the week! In the meantime Harry and Uncle Tristram must endure their stay for the rest of the week on the island, and the story tells of the series of misunderstandings and troubles that contribute to a humorous multidimensional story.
1. This book would be most suited to children from aged nine years and upwards. It could be read as a follow on from The More the Merrier, but it is equally enjoyable as a standalone story. The Independent reviewed this book as ‘infectiously funny and highly readable’ and I would certainly agree as Fine’s style is witty and humorous. I feel that her enthusiastic style will even appeal to most reluctant of readers to keep reading, and will appeal equally to both girls and boys. The central character, Harry, is instantly likeable because he is curious and adventurous. The children reading this book will be easily able to relate to his viewpoint. He demonstrates the confusions of a child when surrounded only by adult company. But is this interest into the lives of adults which makes it so appealing to the readers too, for example, Tristram’s romantic rivalry is an adult subject.
I feel this book would be beneficial to inspire reluctant readers during guided reading, but also for all children to use it as a book to read during quiet reading sessions. It has short chapters so it can be easily picked up and left off at any point. It could be used to draw attention to features of speech, descriptive and figurative language.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this book and I’m sure the majority of children, like myself, would find it hard to put this book down! At just 187 pages, it would be a suitable and enjoyable read for children in year five.
2. Eating Things on Sticks is a hilarious tale, which I think is suited to children aged 8+. There are some subtle suggestions about what Uncle Tristram and Morning Glory get up to away from Harry, which adults will understand, but children not so much to be wary of. Like any Anne Fine novels, fire is a recurring theme so I would suggest that parental guidance is addressed before reading if there has been a recent incident involving fire or fire damage. Harry’s points of view throughout the story are one that every child can relate too at one stage or another when surrounded by adult company. This book would be an excellent why to include reluctant readers, as Harry himself is reluctant to take part in tasks! The book is a delightful read that children and parents alike will enjoy reading.
- Reading Age: 9 years +
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- Anne Fine The More the Merrier