11 October, 2012

The Book... by Caroline Everall (2)

The next in my series of guest posts on the books that mean something important to us. Here's another from Caroline Everall, telling us of the legacy of a very special book.

The Book I've used professionally.

Image from Amazon
‘Carbonel’ by Barbara Sleigh was dramatised on radio’s Children’s Hour around 1961. Even
my father would rush home from the office in order to hear the next episode in the 5.30 to 6pm
slot. I was given the book for the following Christmas, and I’m now on my second copy, the first
having fallen apart many years ago. It’s about two children, a cat prince who needs to reclaim
his kingdom, and the old lady witch whose binding spell needs to be broken. There must have
been thousands similar written since then, but this one makes an excellent out-loud read.

I first used it in class on my final teaching practice, in a border mill-town. Most of the Year 3 children came from quite disadvantaged families, and had had three teachers in the past year. ‘You’ll never get them to sit still for a story’, I was told, but ‘Carbonel’ caught their imagination, and within a week I could use lack of storytime as a threat for almost anything! It was so successful that the school started getting requests for details, and I ended up taking orders and buying about a dozen copies through the local bookshop. And the day I left, one mother rushed up and hugged me at the bus-stop because not only had it got her son reading, but also his father. Result!

Since then I’ve used it many times over with every age-group from 5 to 11. They’ve all loved it, even the footballing toughies, and both my copies have become ragged with over-use. I probably owe it a debt of gratitude for taming so many sets of little beasts.

Does anybody else remember these books? They sound magic! Might be worth getting a copy if you know of a reluctant young reader. I know I read this book (and the sequels) as a child. I don't remember the plot at all, but just the title fills me with a sense of excitement - I do remember than I was absolutely enchanted by it!

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As with her previous post, Caroline Everall is a retired teacher and brains behind Clutterbox, a website where you can find plays, assemblies and other resources for teaching primary-aged children.

1 comment:

  1. I was too young for this one, but I loved hearing stories on the radio. TV too, but radio has a particular magic about it. I wonder if modern day parents ever hunt down internet radio sites specifically for children's fiction?

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