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Is There Room on the Broom?
Room on the Broom Board Book - Julia Donaldson
Member Name: hotrock4
Room on the Broom Board Book - Julia Donaldson
Advantages: Great story, and illustrations.
It was after having seen Room on the Broom played on TV recently and enjoying it, I thought that it would be good to get a copy of the book for our daughter. It was once I realised that the book is written by Julia Donaldson, and illustrated by Axel Scheffler the same people who created The Gruffalo, a book I remember fondly myself, that sealed the purchase of this book. I managed to get a bargain on Amazon with a very good condition second hand copy costing just £1.60 delivered to my door however this book can also be found in Asda on offer at 2 for £7.00 at the moment along with other similar children's titles.
The book has a glossy finish to the pages and cover which allows them to be wiped easily or drip dried without too much damage to the pages if the worst does happen, only leaving a few wrinkles without making the text or pictures fade or run. The pages are also thick enough to with stand the none too gentle hands of a young reader and withstand tearing well, with the only damage to our copy being the odd folded corner.
The first thing I feel needs to be mentioned is the way that it is written is brilliant, every other sentence of the story rhymes making the story flow really well and makes it great for reading aloud. The way this is written gives both a rhythmic and comical feel to the story as it is read aloud which makes it great for keeping the attention of younger readers as it makes it feel a little faster paced making it well suited to grabbing their attention along with the illustrations. Our daughter who is coming up for 2 years loves this book and still insists on it being read to her a good few months after we bought it.
Room on the Broom follows a witch and her cat that are out on their broomstick and all in all not having a very good day. As the witch and cat fly about the witch looses different items such as her hat, and her wand and each time she lands just as all hope of her finding her lost item seems to have disappeared a helpful animal brings it back to her. The once spacious broom is now full to bursting point with a dog, cat, bird, and a frog as well as the witch and her cauldron after each animal asks to ride on the broom after returning the witches lost property.
The combined weight of everybody on the broom eventually gets too much and the broom snaps in two leaving the animals to fall into a bog, whilst the witch hangs onto the other half of the broom she ends up in a cloud where she encounters a dragon. The dragon wants witch and chips for his tea and the witch is only saved by the animals previously on board her broom scaring the dragon when they emerge from the bog. With the dragon scared away the witch sets about making a new broomstick and each animal puts something in the cauldron along with the broken broom and out appears "a truly magnificent broom!" with luxury seating for each animal on board as well as the witch.
That pretty much sums up the story there is nothing too scary, the animals look a little scary when they come out of the bog to confront the dragon, however the dragon whilst mean is drawn in a friendly manner so looks amusing rather than scary. As said at the top of this section this story is excellently written with a great flowing story line with a simple twist which is great for keeping the little ones amused especially whilst reading aloud. At just over 20 pages in length this is also a decent length child's story whilst there isn't text on every page it still takes 10 minutes or so to read through.
As with most children's books of this type there is far more of the book devoted to the illustration than text, I do however see this as a must for books for a younger audience that are just learning words. With big well drawn and relevant pictures to point to whilst reading along this book certainly does well as far as I'm concerned. Axel Schiffler has done an excellent job with illustrating this book with enough done to make the pictures interesting but not too much as to make them over complicated, this means that they are great for pointing out the individual animals, the broomstick or the witches hat making them great for learning.
The characters are all portrayed in as positive a light as possible, even the dragon which makes this book a pleasant read unlikely to give any bad dreams. The witch is ugly in a comical way with a large hooked nose and googly eyes, but is dressed in a purple dress and red cardigan which breaks up the black of her cloak and hat making her a much less dark character than she could have been. All of the animals are quite simply drawn but very well done again giving enough detail to add character to the story without over complicating or overcrowding the page. The dragon is the scariest character of all breathing fire as dragons do but despite wanting witch and chips for his tea is very humble when met with the animals coming out of the bog and politely gives the witch back.
In all the illustrations throughout the book only add to the charm and readability of this book and make this book a treat to read with a child sat on your lap pointing out the images described in the text. The pictures give a perfect balance to the story being perfect to point along to whilst not over doing it and detracting attention from the story.
In conclusion as you may well have already gathered I think that this is an absolutely brilliant book and enjoy reading it almost as much as my daughter enjoys having it read to her. It has proven to be a great educational aid with many words such as broomstick, frog, dragon, wand and owl being said for the first time whilst sitting and reading this book, whilst also distinguishing these things by pointing at the very relevant accompanying illustrations.
The way that the story is written makes this a brilliant book for getting children into reading as it is fast paced, funny and interesting as well as being as suitable for boys as it is girls, although the cover illustration with the cat and witch on the broomstick may appeal more to the girls. Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler have done a brilliant job with this book and I would most definitely recommend this as a book worth owning as it will be read hundreds of times over. In my opinion Room on the Broom is well worth the £5.99 RRP but look around and a bargain is most likely to be had at a much cheaper price than this.
All in all I cannot fault this book in any way what-so-ever and would go as far to say it is one of the best childrens books I have yet had the pleasure of reading to our daughter, and there will definitely be more books that Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler have collaborated on making it onto her bookshelf, if only for my own amusement. I can see this book becoming a classic and it receives a most definite 5/5 stars from me.
Summary: A great book for budding readers.
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