The Wizards of Once #3: The Wizards of Once: Knock Three Times
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Third time lucky? Xar and Wish need all the luck they can get! Most of us never fight a war against evil magic. Xar and Wish have done it not once but twice – and now they face a third quest. They’re being hunted by Wizards, and by Warriors, and by Witches. And yet again, they face an absurdly impossible task. Up above, in the treetops, cruel Witches sharpen their talons in readiness. Worst of all, Xar and Wish must confront the frightful Nuckalavee. This hideous critter makes everything else they’ve faced look like a picnic. But with the power of Magic and Iron together, they will prevail. Won’t they?
- By the new Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell
- Electrifying fantasy that simply fizzes with magic
- Cressida is the author of How to Train Your Dragon
- The Wizards of Once won the 2018 Blue Peter Prize
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Teacher, Karen Beresford takes a look at You Can Create an Outdoor Classroom – Ages 3-7 for us.
This book takes a very different approach to other books on the outdoors that I have read before and makes a refreshing change. I was impressed from the start by the introduction which I felt helped explain the importance of the outdoor environment to reluctant staff. The activities, tips and ideas were well laid out with easy to read bullet points along with thinking points. I liked the thinking points and they did get me thinking- however by the end of the book I felt that many of the thinking points were being repeated. The suggestions in the book were all easy to follow and understand and did not require expensive or elaborate resources or preparation. Although a criticism could be that there was nothing ‘new’ presented here I did feel that the points were all valid and the sort of things that practitioners need to be regularly reminded of.
An interesting scope was put on presenting activities. I liked the superheroes theme but felt that this then became a bit repetitive. I feared it could also encourage aggressive play, but having said that whenever a superhero approach was suggested, there were always suggestion on applying rules and boundaries to stop play getting out of hand. All aspects of the curriculum are covered from the typical social and physical to maths and language opportunities, proving just how much the outdoor area can offer. It also considered all the practical issues of using the outside- group size, safety, observations, rules and boundaries, SEN, i.e. many of the ‘excuses’ typically offered as to why the outside area cannot be used. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on developing independence and involving the children and planning for the outside area. The book was different to many other practical early years’ books in that it did not set out precise activities and there was no reference to stepping stones or early learning goals.
Not all ideas were linked specifically to the outdoor area which I initially found a little strange, but on reflection I realised this helped show how the outdoor area should be seen as an extension of the indoor area- for example, snack times can be outside. The book does provide ideas for the age range it is aimed at (3-7 yrs). Good links are provided to help develop points further- books, websites, teachers TV programmes. To improve the book I would like to see a few precise activity ideas and I would also like more mention to be made of the challenges faced by setting with only a very small outdoor area. To conclude- this book is good for outdoor inspiration but also as a general read for reminders to staff of all round good practises. It has not however left me with any set ideas of an activity I would like to do outside. Rather it relies on the reader being inspired and developing the ideas presented in the book. Therefore it is best suited to proactive, reflective practitioners and not as a quick dip in book for activity ideas. It would also be a good book for students.