Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Bubble and Squeak Duologue

3rd May 2019

Author picture of Tracey Lloyd with her book Bubble and Squeak

Tracey Lloyd talking about Bubble and Squeak and Other Stories for Two Voices.

There’s something rather unusual about my new book, Bubble and Squeak and other stories for two voices. It’s in the form of duologues. That means that, just as it says in the title, the stories are told by two voices.

You can see from the pictures that they are mostly about animals - a fox and a cockerel, some squeaky mice and a very grumpy lion – but what’s different about these stories is that they are written for reading aloud. Each one is a bit like a short play but for just two readers. So, they are great fun if you enjoy acting. And you might like to know the very special reason why I wrote them like that.

If you’re a regular on the Toppsta website, there’s a good chance that you love reading.  You already know that there’s nothing better than books, to entertain you, inform you or transport you to magic kingdoms. You take it for granted that reading is not just fun, but it helps you as well. You probably don’t even think about how easy it is to read messages from your friends or do your homework or enter a competition or understand the instructions on a new game. Maybe you don’t even remember a time when you had to learn to read.

But perhaps you don’t feel like that. Perhaps you’re one of those people who are very good at other things but who find reading a bit of a struggle. Perhaps you love maths and books don’t seem to matter so much. Or maybe when you look at letters on a page, they don’t behave themselves and turn into words, as they should. They just wriggle about and change themselves round so that ‘god’ turns into ‘dog’ and bees become peas and it’s really annoying.

Or it might be that you speak more than one language and English is not the one you’re best at, so reading English books is hard. Perhaps in your best language the alphabet is different, or the words go up and down, instead of along in a horizontal line, like this. Perhaps books in your best language open from what other people think of as the back, and upside down. Difficult, isn’t it?

I know loads of kids who have difficulties like that. I work in a primary school, helping new and reluctant readers to enjoy books, and I’ve done it for years. I volunteer with a charity called ARCh (it stands for Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire), which sends reading helpers into lots of local schools. There are organisations like that all over the country. You might have seen them in your own school. You might even have your own reading helper. If so, I hope you have fun together. Reading should be fun.

As volunteers, we meet children who have all sorts of different reasons for needing help. Some of them are especially good at other things instead of reading but most of them just find it hard. Some of them have only just come to live in this country and they struggle to speak English, let alone read English books. But we also work with children who live in houses where no-one likes reading and there are no books. And that’s no fun.

So here are some questions. Do you struggle with books and are people bored with listening to you? Or do you perhaps know somebody who doesn’t like reading, like your little sister or your big brother or your best friend? Do you think you would like acting in stories about funny animals who make silly noises?  If the answer is yes to any of those, try reading Bubble and Squeak together and share the fun.

Book pages Placeholder Book

Bubble and Squeak: and Other Stories for Two Voices

Perfect for `reading aloud' practice, the stories in Bubble and Squeak are based on traditional fables. Each is written as a mini-play, with two characters and two distinct voices, one for a new or reluctant reader, the other for an adult or a more advanced child.

The four stories are short, sharp and funny, and graded to allow for a child's progress. The first two stories can each be read in one sitting, but the third and fourth introduce small chapters which end on cliff-hangers to keep children engaged. In all four stories, the co-reader's role has more complex words and structures. As children grow confident, they often ask to read a story again, switching roles to play the more challenging part.

Kids love to act. In Bubble and Squeak they can be a wicked fox or a crafty cockerel, a grumpy lion or a squeaky mouse. Reading their part aloud, they forget they are being tested. Brightly coloured illustrations add talking points to stimulate their imagination, and the co-reader shares the fun.

Bubble and Squeak is the first in the PLAY YOUR PART series, crafted to introduce young readers to language which increases in variety and stimulus. Playing a part, children will soon learn to love books and to ask for more.


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