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For my son's sixth birthday one of the presents I bought him was a set of Winnie the witch books from the book people website. The set of books came nicely presented in a canvas bag and cost just £9.99 thus making the books cost less than a pound each which I am sure you will agree is excellent value. One of the books in the set is Winnie's new computer which I shall review today.
Winnie's new computer is written by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul. It is published by Oxford Univeristy Press and was first published in 2003 but has been reissued a couple of times since then. The front cover of the book shows a very happy looking Winnie sitting at her new computer whilst Wilbur the cat looks less than impressed sitting on the top of it. There is a lot to look at on the front cover which makes you want to look further in to the book.
Winnie's new computer tells the story of when Winnie gets a new computer funnily enough! She sets the computer up and is very excited to use it but becomes increasingly frustrated with Wilbur pawing at the mouse as he tries to work out why it isn't like other mice. Winnie puts Wilbur outside so she can play with her computer but she is so preoccupied that she doesn't notice that it is raining until the water starts to come through the roof. She fixes the leaking roof with a spell and lets in a very grumpy Wilbur. Winnie decides to add all her spells to the computer so that she will no longer need her books but at night Wilbur decides to investigate the mouse some more and he manages to switch on the computer and use a spell which turns the computer invisible and Winnie realises that she actually needs her spell books after all as otherwise she will not be able to turn the computer back to normal again.
I like this book and I like the message that it has as well in that whilst technology is great there is still room for books. Whilst I love the internet I do also love to get in bed with a book and a hot chocolate and I would like it if my son would continue to develop his love of reading throughout his life and still read books as an adult.
My son likes this book because he finds it really funny that Wilbur is confused about the computer mouse. My son is pretty good on a computer as it seems most children are these days so he just thinks Wilbur is really silly. As far as comparing this book to other Winnie the witch books we have goes it isn't the best but it is quite enjoyable all the same.
As always my favourite part of the book just has to be the illustrations. I love the expressions that Wilbur is given and in this book as he is feeling wet and grumpy after being put outside in the rain there are some really funny ones-I particularly enjoy him pressed up at the window peering in and being convinced that the mouse must have put a spell on Winnie to keep him outside. The illustrations on each page are so detailed that it is nice just to sit for a few minutes looking at them and seeing what you can find. There are always bugs and things but in this book there are lots of mice hiding and my son likes to count those as we go along.
Winnie's new computer is a nice book to read with your child and one that once they are able they will read independently. It is not my son's favourite book from the set but it is still not bad by any means and I would still recommend it. If you are interested you can buy it from amazon for £4.49 but I would say buy the set from the book people if you can.
Thank you for reading my review!
Winnie's New Computer is a delightfully funny picture book and is part of the Winnie the Witch series of books by Korky Paul and Valerie Thomas. They are all about this wonderful colourful but sometimes quite inept witch called Winnie and her long suffering cat Wilbur.
Winnie lives in a large, rambling, old fashioned house but in this story she decides that she should modernise things by getting a computer. She thinks that it is great especially when she goes on the internet to order a new wand. She also realises that if she loads all her spells on to her new computer she won't need her book of spells any more! She does so and the book goes in the dustbin!
Wilbur, on the other hand, is not so sure though. He is a little mistrusting of this new technology and quite a bit jealous of this mouse that seems to be getting all of Winnie's attention. At night he creeps into the computer room to investigate but things go badly wrong when he makes himself and the computer disappear. When Winnie discovers what has happened she reaches for her book of spells only to remember that she has thrown it out and the dustcart has just left. Luckily at this point her new wand arrives and she is able to retrieve the situation much to her relief! From this moment on, although she still loves her computer she decides that it's probably worth having a back up and decides to keep the book of spells too! (I can definitely identify with that having lost one or two important things on my computer too!)
Both my three and five year old daughters love this book and because they are becoming quite adept on the computer themselves they are able to understand the references in the book. They also love the characters of Winnie and Wilbur and feel like they know them quite well as we have read quite a few of the books about Winnie.
They love looking at all of the pictures of Winnie with her wild straggly hair, long pointed red nose and bright colourful clothes. She is not a scary witch to look at and in fact there is something quite endearing about her. Wilbur is alwys very funny too and often is the subject of Winnie's experimental spells - in this story Winnie practises using the computer to turn him blue! All of the illustrations are wonderful too. They are all very busy with lots happening and you can come back to the book many times and there is always something new that you will not have spotted before. There is also so much humour in the pictures - a lot of which will be aimed at the adult who is reading the book with their child!
The story is written in a very straightforward way making it accessible to small children. There is slightly more text than you would find in a lot of picture books meaning this is a bit more of a substantial story making it appeal to slightly older children too. Whenever Winnie goes to cast a spell the word ABRACADABRA apears in big jagged capital letters. My three year old instantly recognises this word and really loves to join in with the reading at this point.
Overall this is a very funny and enjoyable book which I think would appeal to both girls and boys. It's a good story backed up with exceptional illustrations. And of course it's a cautionary tale too - always back up your files on your computer!
The book is published by Oxford University Press and is available on Amazon for £4.49.