From the Publisher
When Tom and his parents move to their new house they hear strange noises coming from the shed next door. Tom helps his parents tidy the junk-filled garden in the hope that his dad will build him a pirate ship play-house. But Mum and Dad tire easily. Then Tom finds out that the neighbor is an inventor. He’s invented a robot called Helpful Helen. She can do jobs around the house and garden. Tom’s dad is very excited by the robot and gives her a long list of instructions. But oh no! He hasn’t spoken slowly. And Helen is programmed to be very helpful. It looks like things are about to get a bit higgledy-piggledy. This is a very funny story about a robot gone haywire!
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.