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Modern Stories for Children

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Down the Sleepy River

Down the Sleepy River is a book that has been designed to help introduce children to Mindfulness. At the start of the book there is a two-page introduction that explains what Mindfulness is and how it can help children in their daily lives.

This is a very relaxing book with some lovely artwork involving animals falling asleep in their natural environment. The artwork is really eye-catching and as the various different scenes are all set at night, the colours tend to be dark but bright. There is not much written text, but what there is describes how each animal is relaxing at the end of the day and drifting off into a lovely sleep using mindful techniques. There are no human beings in the pictures, just lovely cuddly animals.

Down the Sleepy River has been created as a snuggle book where the parent/carer can snuggle down with a young child at the end of a busy day. They can look at the pictures together and discuss what they can see, while at the same time, they are relaxing and spending quality time together. This will hopefully result in a stress-free bedtime and a good night's sleep for the child.

Also on this page...

... in no particular order

Down the Sleepy River --- Emma Drage, Carmen Saldana

The World at Your Feet -- Karl Newson and Clara Anganuzzi

Max Magic -- Stephen Mulhern

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The World at Your Feet

Here is a lovely book for children that is different from most other children`s books. This is because there is no story , no named characters and no adventure, it is a book that was written to send children a very positive message about how they see them selves and the world around them.

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There are not many words written on each page which makes this feel that it is a book that would be good to encourage discussion between the person reading it and the child it is being read to. I can imagine children snuggling up with parents , or whoever, and actually discussing what they can see on the pages.

The artwork is lovely and very easy on the eye making it easy for both young and old to look at without there being any dazzling or garish colours to get in the way. It has been created with a sort of pastel, watercolour feel to it. The paintings have covered each double page.

There are no complicated characters to get to know because there is only the same child featured on every double page throughout the book and this child does not have a name at all. I think this has been done in a way that will make the child being shown the book will feel that they themselves could be that main character and the child in the book represents them.

This child is not alone though because he has animal friends with him on every section. Each double page shows the child with an animal set in the environment where the animal would be found in real life. This also adds to the book`s educational value because it might prompt the reader to discuss nature with the child as well, as the message in the words. The text tells the child that they should try to be themselves because they are unique, they should do the best they can, try new things and not worry if things go wrong sometimes.

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Max Magic

This book is set in modern day London with the main character and hero of the story being a young boy named Max Mullers. Max lives with his parents, three siblings and the family dog. He enjoys doing magic tricks that he has been taught by his relations. He wants to be a famous magician when he grows up. His dad owns a toy stall on Petticoat Lane Market and he thinks that Max would be better off if he forgot about magic and focussed on something else for the future. Max helps his dad on the stall after school and at weekends and he enjoys the banter, and the pocket money. Max is a bit of an outgoing person and he is loved by his father`s customers because he is always cracking jokes.

However, not all is well in Max`s life because he hates going to school because of the bullies. Many of the children at the school are intimidated by bullies but they all cope as best they can. It is not just at school where Max is bullied because one of the worst bullies has started to pick on him outside school. This is a nasty boy named Bottley who keeps trying to get money out of Max because he knows that Max has money from helping his father on the stall.

Unfortunately , Bottley is not the only bully in this story because most of the stall holders at the market are being bullied in a different way. The local gangsters, the Crayfish Twins are trying to get `protection' money from vulnerable stall holders. Max`s father gets on the wrong side of this nasty pair when Max and Bottley are having a struggle. One of the Crayfish twins gets in the way of a curry stall and his expensive suit is ruined. They try and get money out of Max's father to pay for the suit plus extra money.

Max and his friends think it is so unfair that these bullies are getting away with all this. Max wants to find a way to help his dad and anybody else who has been a victim to any sort of bullying. He feels helpless until one day he opens an old chest in his grannies antique shop. The answer to this problem could be solved through Magic and Max knows he should give it a try.

My opinion on modern children`s books.

Even though I am well into adulthood, I still love to read books that have been written for children. Of course, my favourites will always be the classic children`s stories that children have read and listened to for generations, but I also like reading modern books for children. Many modern books can tactfully cover some of the problems that children are having in today`s world. Maybe by writting these problems into the stories, the author is trying to let the child know that they are not the only one having this sort of trouble.

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