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The Misadventures of Frederick

The Misadventures of Frederick

Ben Manley
Two Hoots
ISBN: 9781509851539

Ben Manley has created a wonderfully structured story in the form of The Misadventures of Frederick. From the title alone, readers are lured into a realm of thinking around what these misadventures could be. The story opens on an illustration of a boy sat alone on a bed, gazing towards an open window where a paper aeroplane has drifted in. (opposite is a handy instruction for how to make a paper aeroplane - nice touch).

Upon opening up the plane, the boy discovers it is in fact a letter from a girl called Emily. She is outside enjoying the forest and wants the boy to join for an ice cream. The boy, who we then learn is called Frederick, asks his mother for permission but she refers him back to the last time he ventured outside and we get the impression that it wasn't a successful venture. The story then grows into a series of correspondence between Frederick and Emily with Frederick rebuffing Emily's invites each time. The lovely idea of them messaging via paper aeroplanes cannot be understated as it adds to the charm of the book. The story comes to the conclusion with Frederick eventually ignoring the outcomes from the last visit outside and meeting his new friend ..... with an humorous and sweet twist at the very end.

As a teacher of primary school children, I can see that this book would not only be used as an enjoyable end of the day story but also as a basis for some class based work. It opens up the idea of discussing our friendships and how we make friends. It also weaves fantastically into the idea of form and register for UKS2 children. There is a clear difference in the style and register of writing between Frederick and Emily. It would make a great discussion to allow children to talk about the language used and to define their meaning. The older children would love being able to access a shorter picture book after normally being given novels to read.

The writing of Ben Manley is charming and flows beautifully from page to page. Much of this is also down to the wonderful illustrations of Emma Chicester Clark. A great addition to any school library, I will be sharing this at my school.

Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher


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