Children's Fiction: "Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Spooky School"
Here, right in time for Halloween, is a book with three hilarious read-aloud stories from author Tracey Corderoy (Hubble Bubble series) and illustrator Steven Lenton - a perfect treat for any 5-8 year old!
Meet Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam - two brave baker dogs, who solve wacky mysteries too! Halloween at St Spectre's school brings out the cheekiest of ghosts! And who is to blame when the weather goes CRAZY? A power-grabbing red panda maybe? Certainly not the raccoon gang fixing the museum's toilets - they've got dastardly plans of their OWN!
This story is from the successful creators of Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam picture books series. It is their first title for children who want to begin to read more independently and make the leap from picture books to something slightly more substantial. It also works very well as a book that can be read aloud to children as they begin to become more confident about tackling longer and more complex texts.
The orange and black cover and illustrations are appropriately thematic for the season but also fun and add plenty of humour. There are illustrations on each page which ensures the text is broken down into smaller sections and not too overwhelming.
Shifty and Sam are very likeable characters; dogs who bake and solve mysteries at the same time makes for an appealing and winning combination! The first story sees them arriving at St Spectre's Boarding School where they proceed to prepare a delicious banquet of sandwitches, creepy crawly cupcakes and "totally terrifying trifles that bubbled like volcanoes." But within no time at all they are involved in the hunt for the "lightning strike" ghost. The action is fast paced and sprinkled with so many amusing phrases like their motto "All for bun and bun for all!" to their weapons "whisk-a-web". The alliteration and bubbling adjectives make the story entertaining. The writing is full of energy; the words and illustrations seem to almost leap from the page.
The second story, "The Wacky Weather Week" involves the devilish Red Rocket who uses his remote control to change the weather and create havoc. There's a great scene when Shifty and Sam turn baguettes into skis! The imaginative use of food as gadgets to save the world from wacky wrongdoers is definitely the thing I enjoyed most and in this tale there were croissants disguised as walkie talkies and a cupcake catapult!
This is a very enjoyable, witty and amusing story which will liven up any bedtime and appeal to any child who enjoys a bit of adventure and a world where the main characters are animals. The tasty mix of 'crime fighting' dogs with cooking and baked delights will give the stories a wide appeal, particularly those addicted to 'Paw Patrol', 'Octonauts' and 'The Great British Bake Off'.
I would recommend this book to children between 5-8 either to help straddle children from picture books to 'chapter books' or for children who read ably. They are great fun to read with your children and the presentation and production of the books is very visually pleasing. Three books in one is always a bargain too!
"Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Spooky School" by Corderoy and Lenton is published by Nosy Crow on 6th September 2016.
You can find out more about the book and authors at www.nosycrow.com or on Twitter @nosycrow
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