Grandma Bendy and the Great Snake Escape by Izy Penguin
Age Range: 5 to 9We giggled our way through Grandma Bendy and the Great Snake Escape. As a snake lover my daughter particularly enjoyed this very funny story and the humorous pictures supporting the text made us laugh. It’s a very funny first chapter book to encourage independent reading.The Story: On the first day of school Mike, the school bully, puts a snake in Lucy’s school bag. The snake escapes so Lucy, her brother Max and Grandma Bendy set out to find it. The whole village is in a state of panic, which isn’t helped by a scaremongering headline in The Pumperton Paper, but by the end of the day there is still no sign of the snake. On the second day, desperate to clear Lucy’s name, Grandma Bendy and the children resort to bizarre measures to find the snake which is eventually found in… (we don’t want to spoil the ending!).Lucy’s show and tell session goes horribly wrong after Mike sneaks the snake into her bag and poor Lucy gets the blame and has to explain herself to Sergeant Nevil Rodent. Thus begins a mad search, led by Grandma Bendy, to find the snake and absolve Lucy of any wrongdoing. The story takes us to a village shop that sells items that nobody would really want to buy, an ice cream shop, a churchyard and a park and amusing, sometimes slightly scary, incidents take place in them all. The Pumperton Paper’s headlines help add chaos to the situation and we found the contents of the village shop especially funny (Grandma Bendy’s bizarre purchase came in handy when they got into trouble on the second day of the search!).The text in the book is printed in an easy to read font and the paragraphs are short which makes the layout of the page look less threatening to a young reader. Every page of the book is covered in illustrations that add to the enjoyment of the story and we like the way that each character is introduced at the beginning of the book with a short biography. Grandma Bendy, ‘a super, stretchy, twisty, bendy grandma’, is joined by her dog, Spag Bol, Mr Brain Freeze, Suzy Valentine who works for The Pumperton Paper, shopkeeper Val Crowe and Lucy and Max among others.This fun first chapter book has lots of humorous action, amusing events and funny illustrations which keep a young reader turning the pages. If you’re looking for a book to bridge the gap between a picture book and a first chapter book this is definitely one that we would recommend. It would make a great addition to a Key Stage One classroom or library.Author / Illustrator: Izy PenguinThank you to Maverick Books for sending us a copy of Grandma Bendy and the Great Snake Escape. It is one of the books in Maverick’s new junior readers range which will be published in October. You can read more about the other titles here.