Review Blog

Jun 01 2012

Wired Up series by various authors

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A and C Black, London, 2012.
Man about the house by C. A. Plaisted. ISBN 978 14081 5654 4.
Breaking the rules by Maxine Linnell. ISBN 978 1 4081 5271 3.
(Ages 11+) Recommended. High interest, low literacy. A companion series to Wired, and similar to those published by Barrington Stokes, this series will appeal to kids with lower literacy levels but wanting something more meaty than the usual stories written for them. Short stories, in larger print, and wide margins on the pages make these easier to read than most texts. They will be very handy to have available for readers, and a box set of them in the classroom will be useful.
With solid stories written around themes present in their daily lives, these two stories have a high appeal.
Man about the house is the tale of Jeza, broken up about his father living with a new family and having to be the man about the house for his mother and sister. he desperately wants his father to come to the soccer to watch him play and is dreadfully disappointed when his new baby takes precedence. A neat resolution sees both parties coming to some understanding of their new roles. Along the way we see how different families react to break ups, and Jeza's angst at having to do the jobs around the house allocated to him by his grandfather, who imposes new responsibilities upon the boy.
Breaking the rules follows a scenario familiar to many students who read the papers and participate in internet awareness programs, but unfortunately new to many. Mo is at a low point in her life, moving towns and schools sees her friendless and at odds with her family. She clicks yes on her computer when a boy named Shadow asks to be her friend, and pouring out her concerns to him receives solace in response. He seems to know how she feels and becomes a shoulder for her to cry on. Eventually they agree to meet and she catches the tram to Derby.
This is a chilling cautionary tale, readers will think about the possibilities and traps that Mo could be getting herself into.
Fran Knight

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