Thursday, 24 July 2014

Book Club: Cara and the Wizard

Two Irish sisters love each other very much. When Molly vanishes one morning, Cara decides she will go out into the wide world to find her. She is armed only with gifts from her mother and father, and her own kindness and courage. Can brave Caradefeat a wolf and a wizard to bring back her beloved sister?

Cara and the Wizard is a lovely tale from Ireland was the subject of our latest junior book club.  Great for ages 6+, this book is very simple to follow with vocabulary ideal for children that have just started to read independently. This book is also great for shared reading, making it a great choice for a book club. The book is on The Reading Agency's ' Mythical Maze ' list for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge, making it a great choice for those wanting to take part in this fabulous literacy initiative.

Since the release of the first Harry Potter books 17 years ago, children have been more and more intrigued my wizards, mystery and magic, so a book of this style is always a winner. I admit that I have never read a Harry Potter film or watched any of the films and nor am I likely to, it's just not for me. That's not to say that I don't love to hear children getting excited about telling me all about their favourite Harry Potter characters. I love that our book club sessions let me in on new things, that I would not usually read so I get to learn too!

Before we got started on the books, we thought we would have a little fun finding out our wizard name. All you need is three of sheets of different coloured paper, name tags or bank stickers, a pen and lots of imagination. Cut the paper into smaller pieces, big enough to write one word on, then put your thinking cap on by writing old English names on one colour paper, i.e Greta, Edmund, Basil, words ending in 'le' on another colour, i.e wiggle, tumble, grumble then finally write kitchen related words on the remaining colour, i.e pot, tin, plate. Fold all the pieces of paper up then ask each person to pick one of each colour and put them together to discover their wizard name. We decided our favourite was Edwina Mumblepot! Use the names throughout the session for an added bit of fun.

As this story is quite short, there was lots of time for the group to interact with each other and there were some really imaginative perspectives of the book. The whole group were agreed that the ending was not the best, with Cara and her sister marrying the two handsome boys that they met five minutes ago. Other than the ending everybody enjoyed the book and were particularly interested in talking about facing your fears and doing something brave for somebody you love. To finish off our session we decided on an activity to expand the imagination even further. We each created a storyboard, retelling the story with from the perspective of one of the other characters in the story. Cara's sister and the wizard were popular choices. This activity is a great way to practise storytelling skills and embrace children's creativity. Our group started out with lots of magic and wizard like stories but ended up with a story about a giant blueberry pie! Whatever the story, no matter what the drawings look like, they are sure to be MAGICAL.

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