Review Blog

Dec 15 2014

Dragon Jelly by Claire Freedman

cover image

Ill. by Sue Hendra. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408838846
(Age: Preschool - K) It's Max's monster party - there are yucky, scary games to play like bouncing on the jumping castle that sprays out gunk and pass-the-parcel which contains something not-quite-nice. There's even a hairy green magician who can make frogs hop from behind Max's ear, and before they eat there's time to cool down in the paddling pool filled with buzzing botfly eggs and whiiffy fruit-bat drool. The food is just as savoury and there's excitement when Max's birthday cake appears. Earwax candles? But the piece de resistance is the dragon jelly that is scary hot to eat.
This is a fun romp through a children's birthday party told in rhyming verse that will delight the very young - perhaps their first introduction to the horror genre or an inspiration for their next birthday party. Whichever, the imaginative text and the bright pictures set against a black background for extra effect will engage and entertain and this is sure to become a firm favourite. Just perhaps not as a bedtime story just in case of nightmares.
Birthday parties are big deal for the very young so this would be an ideal way to help young students think about the steps required to plan them, starting with lists of guests and games and food and then a flowchart to sequence and sort - the first steps in helping them to select and organise their information. Information literacy can start at a very young age with the simplest of scenarios.
Barbara Braxton

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