Review: Boris

Carmel Turner, lecturer at the School of Education (Australian Catholic University) has sent us her review for Boris, our new series for young readers.

Andrew Joyner has written a series of four easily accessible jaunty reads for children around the 7+ age range or those students who are on the cusp of “chapter books”.  The literal illustrations help guide those students into the chapter book format as the books have supportive and amusing illustrations and speech bubbles as well as descriptive text to guide the emerging reader in a non threatening way.

The introductory text Boris sets the scene for the series at Hogg Bay where Boris lives with his mum and dad.

Boris has become restless as he and his family used to travel around the countryside in their bus that they now live in. Boris begs mum and dad to travel again and they oblige. The remainder of the book describes their (rather short) journey and introduces us to his new pet cat “Lion”.

The second book in the series is Boris gets a Lizard. This story is very amusing as it takes us into the imaginative mind of Boris, his love of pets and his fascination with Komodo Dragons.

The new adventure involves Boris and the weekly talks he gives the class on Komodo dragons to his plan to contact the zoo and ask if the Komodo Dragon could have a holiday on the weekend at his house! The book is full of preparations for this “event” and the hilarious conclusion.

The next adventure Ready, Set, Boris involves the reader in the school athletics carnival and the “villain” of the story is Eddie who always wins every event. Boris and his friends decide to put in extra training so that they can beat Eddie. This they do but the story has a twist with a message of fair play embedded in the text.

The final story in this set is Boris Sees the Light, an adventure set in Boris’s backyard as he and his friends decide to camp out (in the backyard). They have fun at first but then after a few encounters in the yard end up camping in Boris’s bedroom.

Another feature of these little texts is the activity in the back of the book related to the story such as making a sock lizard puppet.

These “user friendly” texts would be suitable for boys or girls as they have both genders represented in the storyline, however  they would definitely appeal to the boys and perhaps reluctant readers.

The use of these texts in the classroom would be quite varied and flexible as they could be used in readers circles and guided reading for the introduction of reading in chapters , use of speech bubbles , vocabulary and narrative structure (to name a few skills). They would also be useful in learning centres with the support of open-ended scaffolds to support the learner work independently.

Finally the stories are fun and would bring enjoyment to the reader (an aspect that can be overlooked)!

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