* Prices may differ from that shown
This is another of our family's favourite bedtime stories. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler appear to be on course for world domination through children's literature as they have another huge success with room on the broom.
This story is one of a witch and a cat flying on their broom. Each time the witch drops an item, her wand or her bow, she flies her broomstick down to the ground to look for it and each time she meets a new character who finds her lost item for her. She meets a dog, a frog and a bird and each of them join her and the cat on her broom.
This is essentially a really positive tale about altruism and friendship. When a dragon attacks the witch her new friends are able to rescue her and they all create a new magic broom together using items that represent them. Lovely stuff.
The rhythm and pace of the story is perfect. Like the gruffalo, it's fun to read aloud and the predictable repetitive lines means my toddler can join in too, which she loves to do.
As always the illustrations by Axel Scheffler are superb. There is much life and warmth to the characters.
The book itself is quite large and floppy. My toddler finds it a little bit cumbersome to manage herself when she wants to look through without adult help.
I would recommend this book to any parents of two year old and those with slightly older children too.
This another great childrens story written by Julia Donaldson. This isnt just a hit with my children, I love reading it too. Like with other Julia Donaldson books I have read, the book has lots of fun rhyming which flows effortlessly (her books are a pleasure to read!)
Room on the Broom is all about a witch who whilst riding on a windy day manages to lose various items, the animals who find these items all exchange these items for a ride aboard the broom. Unfortunately there just isnt enough room for them and the broom snaps in two. Without spoiling the story the witch is captured by a dragon and its upto the rest of the animals to rescue her!
Its a wonderful story of a kindness, adventure and friendship. The book itself is beautifully set out and illustrated by the wonderful Axel Schleffer. Its certainly a book which you could pass down the generations as its timeless.
I was given a load of new picture/story books when my now 2 year old was much younger. Too young to listen to them and so they sat on a bookshelf in the spare room. A couple of weeks ago we were putting our son to bed and he was getting distracted and ratty as a guy had just turned up with a delivery and wanted to see what was going on so I went to find a new book to distract him with. I went in to the spare room and without looking just plucked one of the books out to read to him.
As soon as I started reading it I loved it. My son was hooked.
Room on the Broom is written by the Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and the book is also illustrated by the same person who illustrates the Gruffalo - Axel Scheffler.
It rhymes and flows so perfectly. I find myself reading it quite fast, and it is easy to read quickly without finding yourself getting tongue tied! The story is about a witch who while out on her broomstick loses items like her hat, hair bow, and wand. They are picked up by a dog, a bird and a frog, who each in turn ask if there is room on the broom for them to have a ride. A bad dragon wants to eat the witch for dinner but she is saved by the animals who pretend to be a horrible monster. She then does a spell and makes a super broomstick with seats for all her animal friends.
The first page of the book goes like this:
The witch had a cat
and a very tall hat,
and long ginger hair
tied in a plait.
How the cat purred
and how the witch grinned,
as they sat on their broomstick
and flew through the wind.
But how the witch wailed
and how the cat spat,
When the wind blew so wildly
it blew off the hat.
The illustrations through the book are lovely and my son really looks at them as I am sure he doesn't really understand most of what is going on, but he is really enthralled by the flowing rhyming. I love the story as the witch is a nice witch, and not nasty like they usually are in books!
I was given this book but I think it is around £3-4 for the paperback version and a few pounds more for the hardback. I think when you find a book that your children love and you think is good as well then the peace and quiet you get from them when you read it then it is well worth the money!
Overall a lovely book and I am now off to Amazon to buy a few more Julia Donaldson books as this one is excellent.
"...and long ginger hair which she wore in a plait..."
We have owned this book for a while - working with children, it is easy to filter out good books to try at home with my daughter, but I was disappointed when she originally shunned this delightful story.
However, then came the animated television adaptation at Christmas - she watched it once, and WHOOSH, she was obsessed. Now, since then we must have read this story to her at least 4 times a week. And she's still not bored of it. Incidentally, neither am I!
It is yet another rhyming story from Julia Donaldson, that is deftly and beautifully illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Yet another triumph from the dream team of children's literature.
Room on the Broom tells the story of a witch, her journey on her broomstick, the things she drops and the animals she meets. It tells of the dragon who would like to have "witch and chips" for his tea, and her escape from his clutches, with the help of her new friends. It is a rather magical story - not too long, one that captures a child's imagination (well, certainly my daughter's imagination anyhow!).
Now, as with the other television adaptations of Julia and Axel's books, there is a range of soft toys. We have yet to succumb to them (the price tag is a little high!), but no doubt will eventually. *eyes the nearby Gruffalo toy suspiciously*
Room on the Broom is another Julia Donaldson classic childrens book and one that is part of our nighttime routine. We have read it quite a lot recently during the build up to Halloween as although its not a book about Halloween it features a witch and so is topical for that time of year.
The synopsis of the story is, "The witch and her cat fly happily over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch's hat, bow and wand. They are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, and each animal asks for a ride on the broom. They climb on, one after the next, until the broom is so heavy that it snaps in two! What will happen next as they tumble into a bog and meet a greedy dragon?"
Although witches are generally portrayed as nasty characters this one is actually quite nice and friendly and has a friendly but still quite a witchy face. She has an ugly wart on her nose and wears a big witches hat of course. When we meet each animal they ask the witch, "Is there room on the broom for a dog/cat/bird like me?" and this is a phrase that, when you are reading the book, you repeat over and over again and so you get quite used to saying it. My daughter can now recite it and we often use it in different contexts during our everyday travels as well which we both find quite funny. I think its a nice way of remembering a book and taking what you have learnt from it and using it.
The story is quite a clever one and the wording is written in Julia Donaldson's familiar rhyming style so I find it very easy to read and get quite a good pace and beat going when I read it. I think the story has a good moral to it too. Like the witch, if you are willing to do someone a favour and help them out when they need it, at some point in your life when you are facing troubles or danger they might just help you out too, a nice human nature characteristic to highlight in my opinion.
The book is wonderfully illustrated as always by Axel Scheffler. The drawings are quite dark and bewitching but I think that just adds to the story. We have the paperback version and it costs £5.99
I've just returned from visiting my family and looking after my grandson, Jack for the holidays. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for Halloween as room space is a bit cramped and so I came back on Saturday. Still I spent every night reading his bedtime stories and naturally with the holiday coming up he wanted as many stories about witches etc as possible. Luckily he has a great range of books and Julia Donaldson is a great family favorite. I do love her style of writing and the vivid pictures in her tales. They are so lively that I must admit to looking forward to the story myself. Jack is able to read well at six and only requires a bit of prompting, but his nanny does the 'voices' so we generally read it twice!
The story is a bit like the old songs and rhymes with one animal being added to the broom instead of one 'rolling over in bed' etc, but the principle is similar. Jack is also musical and we make songs up based on books, so the fact that this is in rhyme is a great bonus for us both.
It starts with a very friendly witch flying on her broom with her cat on the back. It's a stormy night and the pictures are lovely to look at as we turn the pages following the passage of the witch as she flies over various places. She's a typical witch with a long pointy hat, a black dress and lovely ginger hair, which she ties back in a plait. The cat grins in delight as the broom whizzes through the sky until disaster strikes and the witch loses her hat. She zooms down to earth and finds a spotty dog has caught it. He gives it back, just asking a favour, 'is there room on the broom for me?' This question is asked several times as the witch loses several items in the windy sky and each time it's found by a different animal.
Soon the broom is full up with the witch, the cat, dog, a frog and a parrot, at which point the broom goes 'crack!' and splits into two. The animals tumble off only to see the witch confronted by a fierce dragon who is intent on 'Witch burger' (one of our little jokes) for his tea. They gang together to put the dragon's fiery breath out and persuade the dragon that he doesn't want to cross the witch. But how will the witch get home without her broom? Of course she has a magic cauldron and a spell, which Jack and I love to chant and soon the broom is a super-charged flying broom with seats and a perch for the bird. Off they go with a great cheer and I put the book down with a sigh.
Since I've been reading Aesops Fables to Jack we look for the moral in most stories and this is about friendship and also good deeds. It's a simple concept but one that even small children can start to learn about sharing and being rewarded for helping each other. It's good too that jack loves this story so much that he wanted to tell me in advance what came next. He loved the way I asked him questions about the story and picked out what I was trying to share with him. That made him feel good and we ended our story time with a little chat and a song. I know it's not necessary, but routines are so important to young children and repetition sometimes equals safety.
I cannot recommend this more highly. It's one of a range of stories that will appeal to all children, and their parents and grandparents as well.
This book was one of a set, which was a present but can be bought separately.
Thanks for reading and have a good Halloween.
©Lisa Fuller 2011.
Room on the broom is another one of my daughters favourite books and it is definitely one of my first choices to read at bed time. The book is written by Julia Donaldson who is famously known for writing books such as the Gruffalo and monkey puzzle. Julia Donaldson is one of my favourite children's author as she manages to create books that are filled with excitement, colour and surprise. Room on the broom is no exception. From looking at the cover of the book you are immediately drawn to the spectacular drawings and the bright attractive colours. The illustration on the cover contains a witch and a cat on a broom. Its your very typical style witch with long hair, a pointy hat and a wart on her nose. It is apparent however that the witch in the story is a good witch as she looks friendly and she has a big smile on her face. The illustrations inside the book are just as good as those on the cover. They are large, covering most of the page and are bright and colourful, practically telling the story on there own. The illustrations really make this book good for younger children as they really help developing the imagination.
The story is very repetitive making it easy for children to follow, also, as with most of the books written by Julia Donaldson the story is very rhythmic giving it a poem type read to it. This really allows it to stay interesting for children and you can easily adapt your voice around the characters in the story. The story is simple; It follows a witch and a cat who are flying on their broom. There are strong winds in the sky and the witch keeps dropping things off the broom for example her hair bobble, her hat and her wand. Each time she and the cat land and try to look for the missing object. Every time this happens however an animal on the ground always finds the missing object and in return asks for a ride on the broom. The witch is so grateful that she obliges. In the end there is a witch, a cat, a dog, a frog and a bird all riding on the broom and the broom snaps in two. The witch is captured by a dragon who wants to eat her but all of her animal friends manage to scare the dragon off before he does. The witch, being more grateful than ever makes a new broom in her Cauldron which contains seats, a water fountain and a nest for all of her new friends.
This story is one that my daughter really loves, I think more so because of the rhyming words throughout, it allows the book to run so smoothly that it is very good for drifting off to sleep. The story itself is fun and interesting and I think that it is definitely one of Julia Donaldson's best books. This is one of our regular bed time books and I think every home with children between 2 and 5 should own one. It is currently available to buy from Amazon for around £4.00 which is an excellent price for such a wonderful book. It's not one of her newest books, being published in 2004 but I really do think its one of her best. The one we own is a paperback version but you can also get a board version as well. It contains 26 pages of beautiful pictures and an amazing story. I would highly recommend this book.
Room on the Broom!
What a fantastic story. I was introduced to this story by my Sister who seemed to remember it from a few years ago and recommended it for my small child.
Room on the Broom was created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler - the creaters of the famous "Gruffalo".
Currently featured on Amazon for £4.16 it's well worth every single penny spent. The authors have cleverly used rhyming to make each page exciting and simply brilliant. See below a small section from the book to give you an idea of what I mean:
"The Witch had a cat,
and a very tall hat,
And long ginger hair,
which she wore in a plait
How the car purred
and how the witch grinned,
As they sat on their broomstick
and flew through the wind."
I found that when I read the story I seemed to get more and more excited and read faster and faster.
The story is about a witch who was riding her broom, at the beginning she looses her hat, she flys to the ground to get it back and picks up a creature to join her on the journey after loosing many items and gaining many animals they encounter a dragon ....
A fantastic story, I simply cannot rate it higher! Children of all ages will love it - and us adults too!
After 4 weeks of reading the excellent Gruffalo to my three and a half year old son at bedtime, I've finally managed to move on to a different book.
Like The Gruffalo, Room On The Broom is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Alex Scheffler. It's the tale of a witch and her cat who fly through the air on her broomstick, picking up various passengers on the way. A dog, a bird and a frog, until disaster strikes and the broom snaps in two. If that's not bad enough, the witch then encounters a rather unfriendly dragon. Fortunately her friends are there to save the day.
My son really enjoyed this story and it's great fun to read. Especially if you put different voices to each character. The rhymes are clever and amusing plus the wonderful illustrations complement the story, adding a new dimension to this great book. Having been impressed with the animated version of The Gruffalo shown on TV over the Christmas period, I can't help but think that this would be just as successful.
Published by MacMillan, the recommended price for this book is £5.99 but I purchased mine for £2.99 and have seen it on offer in many bargain book sellers.
This is a great read aloud story for babies and toddlers from the author of the Gruffalo. There is plenty of opportunity for toddlers to join in and for adults to glory in a few silly voices whilst reading aloud.
As with many of Donaldson's books Axel Scheffler's excellent illustrations add a great deal to the enjoyment factor.
The witch and her cat go for a ride on their broomstick. The, somewhat careless, witch loses her hat and meets a dog who joins them on their broomstick ride. The witch proceeds to lose her bow and then her wand and is joined on the broomstick by a frog and a bird.
The broomstick breaks and the witch and her companions are separated. A hungry dragon, intent on a witch and chip supper causes the witch to crash land. But she is saved from the dragon by the bird, cat, dog and frog who loom out of the muddy pond and scare the dragon who flees in a very apologetic manner.
The witch casts a spell to create a magnificent new broomstick with a shower for the frog, nest for the bird and comfy seats for the rest of the gang.
Room on the Broom is another children's book from Julia Donaldson - the author of The Gruffalo (recently adapted for BBC). The story follows a witch riding her broomstick through a windy night. As she flies along she loses various posessions and meets a new animal that finds it for her. Each animal asks "is there room on your broomstick for a ...... like me?". To which she always replies yes, until the broom snaps in two.
Here she meets a dragon who wants to eat witch and chips for their tea. But the animals, disguised as a muddy drippy creature, manage to scare away the dragon. The witch invites all the animals to put something in the cauldron, and out comes a "truly magnificent broom". And they all fly away happily.
The charming tale and the rhming way in which Donaldson writes, makes this accessible and enjoyable from very young children to elder pre-schoolers. Children enjoy the repetition and soon learn the story well enough to predict the next part. All the children in my group love to shout out "whoosh they were gone" as each animal climbs aboard the broom.
The illustrations are detailed and colourful and encourage children to use descriptive language within their own story telling. The rhmes allow children to pick up the rhythm of language, vital for language skills that will develop at school.
I would recommend this to any parent of a young child. Your children will enjoy it immensely!
A little bit about Julia Donaldson the author of many favourite childrens book.
I wanted to know a little bit more about the childrens author Julia Donaldson so the most obvious place to visit seemed to be her website. If you take a look at Julia's `About me` page then you will notice that even that is written with immense charm and warm humour, you can instantly see why she is able to pen successful childrens books.
Julia Donaldson tells us how she and her family lived in a huge Victorian house and to while away the hours she and her younger sister Mary loved nothing better than to let their imaginations run riot. Between them they read childrens books, produced ballets and stage shows and they both used to love impersonating their nearest and dearest as well as making up a few `imaginary friends`.
Julia Donaldson studied at Bristol University and during her time there she met her husband Malcolm. Malcolm was a keen guitarist and Julia was passionate about drama, together they enjoyed busking, making up their own unique lyrics to suit the situation.
It seemed that song and verse writing came very naturally and before long Julia found that her childrens books were in demand. Then in 1993 one of her songs -A Squash and a Squeeze- was put into book form, the illustrations were carried out by Axel Scheffler and from then on the rest is history ! Julia Donaldson had become one of our most prized authors of childrens books.
Axel Scheffler continues to illustrate Julia Donaldson's childrens books and they have become some of best known childrens books on the market - I am a huge fan !
Room on the Broom.
When my niece came home from work clutching Julia Donaldson's `Room on the Broom` you would have thought it was me who needed a bedtime story, I could not wait to read through the new story book.
Maybe I had slight reservations about the subject matter, I felt that some children may feel nervous reading tales about a witch just before they went to sleep! But many childrens books do involve odd looking characters and creatures.
But my fears were totally laid to rest when I saw the witch for the first time, my imagination had in fact run away with me.
Room on the Broom was bought from Sainsbury's and the paperback version of this childrens book costs £5.99.
The book has around thirty good sturdy pages and the cover can be wiped over if anything gets accidentally spilt on it. The book is made from good quality paper. I know from experience that childrens books can soon end up looking quite grubby so it is handy to be able to wipe the covers over.
The Witch and her Crew.
The wonderful Witch is the first thing you see as you open this children's book, I love her attire, she is wearing a red shirt, a purple spotted skirt, a black cloak, a tall black Witches hat and a yellow spotty bow in her hair. Granted she is no great beauty but her features are comically ugly without being scary. The Witch has long ginger hair that hangs in a plait, large marble eyes, a hooked nose with a wart on the top and she sports a half smile. It just goes to show that childrens books are not always filled with beautiful characters !
The Witch has her friend the ginger cat already aboard her broomstick but along the way she meets up with a bounding brown and white dog, a friendly and helpful bright green bird and a croaky emerald green frog.
A Little bit about the Tale.
The Witch is doing her normal flying routine but as she whizzes around on her broomstick things start to go wrong. It seems that the Witch is in for what we adults would call `One of those Days`.It seems that `those days` can even happen in the best of childrens books.
Adverse weather conditions cause the Witch to keep losing her belongings but each and every time there is someone waiting to help her out.
But all of her little helpers would like to ride pillion on the witches broomstick, so the Witch who starts out with a dog and a cauldron for company ends up needing to take an HGV license to carry her heavy load.
Eventually something just has to give and the witch finds herself in dire straits, she veers off track and bumps into a cloud.
There is a saying that tell us `Every cloud has a silver lining` but this cloud is home to an enormous Red Dragon who is billowing fire and proclaiming how much he would enjoy a plateful of `Witch and chips!`
But never fear, the crew who were riding pillion on the Witches broomstick are there to lend a hand again ( albeit they are in a bit of a soggy mess )
Happiness is eventually restored (every good childrens book needs it's fair share of happiness) the witch is happy to see her crew, the crew are happy to see the Witch and the broomstick needs a visit to the broomstick hospital.
But we must not forget that Witches usually have special powers and the Witch rounds up her crew knowing she has work to be done if they are to get aboard that broomstick again.
Julia Donaldson puts me under her Spell.
Room on the Broom has quite a lot of text, maybe more than many other childrens books, but it is easy reading that is also such good fun. As usual the text is rhyming, it is so imaginative and it intrigues me.
As we travel along with the Witch we initially think that the storyline is extremely gentle but then about two thirds of the way through the book, BOY- Do we get a little surprise!
But the so-called surprise is done and dealt with by the Witch and her crew.
The broomstick is used much as a form of public transport, if the witch had a ticket machine then it would be perfect!
There is so much to talk about as you read the book to any little listeners, you have the characters themselves, there are weather changes that bring about very interesting happenings. A couple of pages bring big surprises and though they could be a little bit scary none of my little listeners found them so.
The illustrations are marvellous, the colours are well chosen and the Red fire breathing Dragon is spectacular, this childrens book has so much to offer.
As you turn the pages you will also note that there are different countryside scenes, there are trees and plants, rushes and reeds. Many of the verses are filled with humour, as the story draws to a close the crew of the broken broomstick all have to fetch something to add to the Witches cauldron and that is a comical but touching sight.
When the fire is lit underneath the cauldron and you see what arises from the bright yellow smoke then you will be so impressed, we ended the book on a real high, it was laughter all around. Rarely before have I laughed so much at a childrens book.
A Good Bedtime Story ?
In my opinion it is a great bedtime story, the high of the story comes when you reach the last page and that is always a very happy note to go to sleep on.
But if you are going to read `Room on the Broom` at bedtime then just be prepared to spend a little bit more time reading. The text is so good, the verse is so comical that you cannot afford to skip or miss any of the storyline.Childrens books are like fine wine, they have to be savoured.
Each of the characters are worth having a little chat about and the weather and the scenery can all make good talking points too.
Room on the Broom is already a firm favourite and I have a feeling it is going to stay that way for a good while, spending thirty or so minutes with Julia Donaldson's imaginative writing and Axel Scheffler's amazing illustrations is an absolute pleasure.
One of my little listeners is aged four and the other is six and they sit enthralled with the range of childrens tales from Julia donaldson.
This is a brilliant book but to be honest if i see Julia Donaldson's name on a book i now know it will be brilliant as we have worked our way through so many of her books. My little boy is 3 and knows a fair few of Julia Donaldsons books word for word because they are so fun and exciting for young children. This book would be best suited to children aged between 2 and 7 in my opinion yet im a lot older than 7 and i love it lol.
The witch is riding on her broom along with her cat as the wind picks up and blows off her hat, they fly to the ground and search for the hat but no hat can be found. When out from the bushes a dog finds the hat and asks if there is room on the broom for him. The witch says yes and the dog, the cat and the witch fly off, this time the wind blows off the bow from the witches plait and a bird finds it and ask if there is any room on the broom. Of course the witch says yes and they all fly off but the witch drops her wand, a frog finds the wand and yes the frog then gets on the broom. They all fly off and the broom snaps in two they all fall off the broom but a dragon finds the witch and plans to have 'witch and chips' for his tea when out from a ditch a terrible creature with four heads appears and scares the dragon off, of course the terrible creature is really the cat, the dog, the bird and the frog and they make a new broomstick and all fly off once more.
Again this book is a rhyming book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the rrp is £5.99 but is available for under £4.00 in a lot of places. Definatly worth reading it is a very good book.
We stumbles across the collection of books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler about six months ago in our local library, and we soon hunting them down in our local Borders so we could have them at home. The first book we read was the famous Gruffalo which won many awards, and soon we had read Monkey Puzzle, The Snail and the Whale, and next on our hit list was Room on the Broom. As I'm sure most would agree who have read it, that these collection of books are very entertaining to read, and are a most for all young children. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book
As fans of Donaldson will know, the easy flow of the words and rhyming sentences make the light-hearted storylines a pleasure to read. With excellent illustrations too, they make bedtime just that little bit easier.
I am assuming here that you will not mind if I slightly give away some of the storyline, as we are after all reading these for our children and not our own benefit! The book centres on a witch who flies through the sky with a cat on her broom, only to find that the wind whooshes off her witches' hat. As she goes down to find it a dog bounds along and gets on the broom, this happens several times with various different animals until they stumble across a dragon who unfortunately for the witch, is planning to have 'witch and chips for his tea'! What happens next had my daughter squealing with delight as the witch and her gang desperately try to outwit the dragon.
With lots of lovely sentences flowing very easily such as 'I am a dragon, as mean as can be and I'm planning to have witch and chips for my tea!' 'No!' cried the witch flying higher and higher, the dragon flew after her breathing out fire'!' the book is an absolute pleasure to read, and you will soon find yourself searching for others by Donaldson and Scheffler.
Others that I can recommend by the pair are The Gruffalo and The Snail and the Whale.
Julia Donaldson has her own website at www.juliadonaldson.co.uk.
Room on the Broom has an RRP of £4.99 but you can pick it up from Amazon for £2.76 (includes delivery), for the board book which is a lot easier to wipe clean and keep in good condition!
--And Whoosh, they were gone!--
Room on the Broom is one of my favourite children's books. As a mum and an English teacher, I am rather picky about my kids' reading material; there are certain criteria that a book just must meet in order for me to give it my stamp of approval. In no particular order, the book must have good stimulating pictures, not be too long or too short, poetry must scan, choice of words must be appropriate to the reading age of the child, the ending should suggest that bedtime is the next step (because mummy really needs to sit down with a glass of wine), and the pages ought to be relatively indestructible or at the very least taste foul. Whether or not there is a good, logical story in there is of lesser importance, especially when your three-year-old is a complete lunatic and doesn't understand logic anyway, (which is most of them).
But! This book does have a neat story too, so that's an added bonus for us grown-ups! In short, a witch (a good one), whilst riding on her traditional broomstick, loses various bits of clothing and accessories. As she hunts for her wayward apparel, she meets new anthropomorphic friends and they hop on the broom too, to join in her avian adventure. After the fourth addition to the broom, it breaks under their immense weight, and they all tumble down to the ground. Almost immediately, the witch is snatched up by a mean old dragon who wants to eat her. Luckily, her new-found friends collaborate to disguise themselves as a big scary monster and frighten the dragon away. The witch celebrates her narrow escape by magicking up a new broomstick for herself and her chums, but this time it's the new deluxe version with all the mod-cons. For those who like moral stories, I guess it's all about team-work. I prefer to think it's about fraud being a means to undreamt of materialistic wealth, but perhaps that's just me.
Julia Donaldson is more famous for writing the Gruffalo series of books. Room on the Broom is of a similar ilk, so if you and your kids like the Gruffalo you'll like this one too.
The pictures are by Axel Scheffler, who deserves a mention for having a pretty cool name, if nothing else. But his artwork is fab and this book definitely meets my high expectations for having stimulating scenery. I think pictures are so important in kids' books, as not only do they help them remember the story (which in turn aids comprehension and learning), but they also ignite the imagination. From the parent or carer's point of view, pictures give extra scope for talking about the book - you don't always have to stick to the printed word if the pictures are detailed enough for you to expand the story a bit. Scheffler's illustrations are gorgeous - they are fun, beautifully coloured and shaded and full of lots of lovely little details, without overcrowding the picture.
The length of the book is just right, at 12 double page spreads, with each page being slightly larger than A4 (landscape). Each spread is done out a little differently, so there is a varying amount of text, and positioned in different areas of the page, which helps to maintain interest. The book usually takes me about 5-10 minutes to read aloud, but I can stretch it out a bit longer quite easily by using the pictures as a talking point, and it's also quite easy to do a faster version by just missing out the odd verse here or there (be careful not to get caught out cheating like that though).
The poetry is great - lots of fun and with just the right amount of repetition. Too much repetition is boring, but it's a shame not to have any at all, since kids learn so much more quickly when it's used. Each time the witch has to land her broomstick to find her lost clothing, we hear "Down! cried the witch, and they flew to the ground, they searched for the XXXXX but no XXXXX could be found." And as they take off again with the witch fully-dressed and a new friend on the broom, we hear "The witch tapped the broomstick and whoosh" they were gone!" The poetry reads really nicely - the words gel together well, they scan, Donaldson uses alliteration effectively ("moors and mountains" and "fields and forests they flew" etc), and the climax of the story allows the reader to put on some good old silly voices of growling and screeching that all toddlers will think absolutely wonderful.
The ending is not the most bedtime-friendly end in the world, but it's ok. I prefer a final page where all the characters are tucked up soundly in bed, so that my girl is put in the right frame of mind. However, this books ends with the witch and her buddies flying off into the moonlight, with an owl watching them go, so it's easy enough to suggest that they are all flying off to bed since it's night time.
The pages are not particularly sturdy in this book. It's quite a large size, but the paper is of a normal thickness, not reinforced for tiny podgy hands to grasp. As such, if your child attempts to turn the page too quickly, it will likely tear. My daughter tends to eat books she gets bored of, and we've had this one for about a year without a nibble to a corner, which is proof that it is worth conserving for another day and another read. In fact we read this one nearly every evening and it's still looking remarkably unbattered. I tend to hide books which I get bored of reading but this one has remained a firm favourite with both myself and my daughter - more so than the Gruffalo, in fact.
The book is suitable for children from age 2 upwards. The upper age limit would depend on the child, but I guess around 7-8 years would be about right. RRP is £5.99, which is very reasonable I think.
Little ones as young as 6 months can get their hands on this first class picture book.