One Saturday morning, Joe, an eight year old boy went out exploring, as he did every Saturday. Joe followed a path which he had never walked down before. The path was all overgrown and covered in nettles and weeds, but in the bushes ahead of him, Joe could see something big, round and colourful - a roundabout! It was a "real old roundabout" with animals attached to "twisting brass poles."
Granny Peg, a little old lady with the brightest black eyes that Joe had ever seen appeared from a door in the middle of the roundabout and invited Joe in for a cup of tea. Here their friendship begins. Joe spends many hours with Granny Peg at her roundabout and they share stories and laughter together. That is until the council decide they want to buy the land that Granny Peg's roundabout sits on and they encourage her to move into a more “comfortable home”; but there is no other place that Granny Peg could ever call home. Granny Peg says to Joe "I've had such a good, long life. I've done all my exploring now but you, you've got all yours to do. Don’t you forget that, Joe, will you?” This would be the last thing that Granny Peg would say to Joe.
Understandably Joe is very upset, but once he shares his feelings with his Mum and Dad, the upsetment lessens slightly and he goes to visit his Granny in Italy who he misses very much. He has a wonderful time, but on the way home from shopping with his Mum a few days after arriving home, he sees builders and cranes on the land where Granny Peg’s roundabout used to be. This makes some of Joe’s sadness return.
Joe’s Mum and Dad have to sell their café and buy a new one, which they spend time renovating and they are both very excited about. On the last day of the school Christmas term, Joe’s Dad picks him up from school and takes him to see their new café. As Joe approaches, he can hear old fashioned music playing and outside is a roundabout; Granny Peg’s roundabout! All new and shiny with animals attached to “twisting brass poles.”
The book has a recommended reading age of approximately 6-8 years, so it could be used both in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. It is a book that benefits from either being read individually or read aloud to the class. The language used within the book really illustrates the story; it is very descriptive, allowing the reader to conjure up wonderful images. The writing is of a fairly big font with plenty of pictures which help to make the book come alive.
As well as friendship, the book introduces children to getting old and also death and because of this, there are a few sad moments in the book. However, these sad moments are eventually turned into happy memories and the reader is left feeling positive and warm.
The Old Woman Who Lived In A Roundabout is a fabulous book, which I read many times whilst growing up.
- Reading Age: 6-8 years
- Reading Aloud Age: 5+