Red Squirrels

These two stories are part of a new series for Barrington Stoke specially designed to be as the publishers say, ‘dyslexia-friendly’ ie care has been taken to make each one easy to read in terms of story syntax, legibility/clarity – choice of font and print size with black print text set against a plain background. The intention is to provide support for those who find reading a challenge be they child or adult as well as any less confident readers such as those learning English as an additional language.


All I Said Was
Michael Morpurgo and Ross Collins
Red Squirrel Books pbk
A boy narrator shares what happens when, looking up from his book, he spies a bird and tells it his wish – to be able to fly anywhere.


Amazingly, the bird has a desire to read a book and so the pair swop places. Flying is fantastic, thinks the boy (now bird) until he encounters a flock of antagonistic-looking gulls near the beach. Changing course results in a mobbing by crows and then a fracas with a furious farmer.


Books are a much better option decides the frightened flier; reading about being a bird is preferable to the actuality. Time to return to the safety of his bedroom but on arriving, he discovers that the bird has taken on his human form and he remains avian


and worse is to come – if the words of the story in the book are to be believed anyway…
The essential Morpurgo magic is retained here despite textual tweakings, in a testament to the imagination and the power of books to transport their readers wheresoever they wish. Ross Collins’ aerial and earthbound watercolour paintings add to the story’s potency.
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Itch Scritch Scratch
Eleanor Updale and Sarah Horne
Red Squirrel pbk
A rhyming story wherein a boy gives a hilarious account of the days when nits invade and take-over his head: Close encounters of the lousy kind are what we get in this one.


Comical illustrations in rainbow colours portray the itch-making creatures and, one particular mum’s fight, to rid her offspring of their accursed visitors.


Those crazy little creatures are enough to get you reaching for that lavender oil right away, even if you won’t get the day off school proposed here.
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