Especially suited to Early Readers and Reluctant Readers, Arvor's Schooldays is full of words that initially look tricky, but can be easily worked out by the reader as they follow the standard rules of English. Each 20-30 page chapter is an individual story in it's own right. There are illustrations on almost every page, and the text is a good size, so each page has less words.
I've held on to this review so that I could fairly do it justice. The book is recommended for age 6+ and my 6 year old's reading is coming on so quickly that when we received this book a month ago it was far beyond him, and now he can work out almost every word in the book.
The author suggested to me that I read the first chapter, so I did, and then left the book by my son's bedside. Sure enough he's reading it.
Names like Cadwallader and Nautilus Pringlefish seem really long and daunting at first sight, but my son can work them out himself and every time he does he feels an enormous sense of pride, and has a boost to his self-belief.
Concepts such as alternate and Colonel are new to my 6 year old, but not difficult to explain, so it's increasing his understanding of language and his vocabulary without becoming frustrating for anyone.
I like this book and the story because they push the reader to try, but they push gently. We're lucky in that our 6 year old isn't reluctant to read, but our oldest son was a very late and reluctant reader who I know would also have enjoyed this book, although more towards the top end of the recommended 6-11 age range.
The style and setting is a little old-fashioned, and reminds me of the What Katy Did and Enid Blyton stories I read as a child, but the language is generally more modern and I think it works. We're all used to boarding school because of Harry Potter, so it seems very plausible that a dragon would attend a quite militaristic boarding school.
Arvor's Schooldays is written by Jonathan Ferrier and illustrated by Matt Rowe. The recommended age is 6-11 and I think depending on the child that's right. The book is quite mature for a 6 year old and I'm impressed my 6 year old can follow it, my 4 year old can't at all. I can totally see this working with an older reluctant reader, and my son is consistently impressed with his own ability to work out some incredibly long or seemingly tricky words.
Arvor's Schooldays has 120 pages and is available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones, Amazon.com and Google Books with a recommended price of £8.50. The Kindle Edition may not be so user-friendly for newer readers as the pictures distort and so it's not so easy to read.
We were sent our copy of Arvor's Schooldays for review.