About the book: Frank’s cat has gone missing, so she goes out to put up some posters asking people to look out for him. As she’s sticking up the first one, nasty Neil Noble and his cronies arrive. After subjecting Frank to a barrage of teasing taunts, they throw her bag into ‘the deepest, darkest patch of stinging nettles in the whole park’, but the bullying is cut short when classmate Nick retrieves Frank’s bag and tells them to leave her alone. Seeing as Nick is the boy no one wants to sit next to, the boy everyone says has – fleas and ‘smelt weird’, Franks feels like she might ‘die of embarrassment’ if people see her with him, but all that changes when she finds herself at Nick’s house and hears strange, enchanting music streaming from the cellar. It was ‘music of a sort she’d never heard before’ and makes Frank feel happy for the first time in a long time. After this, she can’t keep away from Nick’s house and on her next visit, she follows the magical music and makes an extraordinary discovery that changes everything. But soon enough, and as the bullying worsens, Frank’s newfound loyalty to Nick is tested to extremes and they both discover the power of friendship, through the highest of stakes.
Reasons for selection: A. F. Harrold’s poetic story uses rich language which is matched by the Levi Pinfold’s evocative monochromatic illustrations. There are ample opportunities for studying literary devices including figurative language and for developing visual literacy. The magical realism genre may be unfamiliar to the children and there is scope here to explore the relationship of fantasy and reality. The characters challenge stereotypes and allow for thoughtful text to world discussions.
About Take One Book: The books in the Take One Book collection can be used in conjunction with the Take One Book website, or independently. Take One Book is Just Imagine’s programme for teaching reading and English using high quality literature. You can find further information and free exemplar units on the Take One Book website takeonebook.org
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