This is a magical story about friendship and difference. Jess and her blacksmith father have a dragon – Huff – to fire the forge. They live in a mountain town, fenced to keep out the valley people. But it has no gate.
The King charges Jess’s father with making a strong gate for the town. Huff is getting too old to provide enough fire, so they get a new, red dragon, who they call Puff. They work day and night to finish the gate for the King. Then Puff becomes ill, and it’s only with the help of a boy from the valley that Jess learns how to heal her and, excitingly, how to fly on her! Told in simple, engaging language, this fun, magical story is perfect for developing readers.
About the Author.
Pippa lives in Leicester with her husband, 3 daughters, 1 dog, 1 cat and 3 chickens. She started her career by writing a story for the Kathleen Fidler Competition and is generally inspired by life. Pippa has previously been short listed for The Kathleen Fidler Award, The Smarties Prize and The Young Telegraph Book of the Year. In her spare time, Pippa likes to read, go for walks and chat with friends.
These would suit NC level 3 readers, second class ages 8 to 9
Reading challenges and support offered by the books:
These books offer longer stories than the Blue Banana books. The stories are divided into chapters. This structure will support children’s understanding of how to read longer books.
The chapter structure also allows children to think about how chapters begin and end. Stopping to think about this, talking about what has happened in the chapter and what might happen in the next will also help children’s understanding of story shape and support both their reading and their writing.
Within the chapters, stories are paragraphed, another development from the Blue Bananas. This will again help children to chunk up their reading and make sense of longer units of text. They may need to be taught how to do this.
The stories increase in complexity within this strand of the series. Some stories (like Dragon Boy by Pippa Goodhart) demand that children empathise with a character who is different. Some stories (like Press Play by Anne Fine) include different kinds of texts within the main texts, which places extra demands on children who have to recognise the different ‘voices’.
The language within the books becomes more literary. As well as similes and word play, there is also lyrical description. Some children may find this more difficult to read, but can be encouraged to use the descriptions to create images in their heads, and may also be encouraged to think about the choices and intentions of the writer.