The Isabelle Stories: Hurry up Harry! by Jane Godwin and Robin Cowcher

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Isabelle Stories Volume 2 by well-known author Jane Godwin has four different short stories that share events in Isabelle’s daily life:

1.  Sleeping Over: Year 2 Disco night and sleepover
2.   Forest School: Exploring the forest, building a bridge and an unfortunate accident
3.   News and Views: Isabelle shows the class her baby cousin Bibi. Harry B shares some disappointing news
4.   Harry and the Isobels: End of year concert where Isabelle is chosen by Izzy to sing ‘Morning Has Broken’ with her and there is a surprise visitor in the audience.

This year Isabelle, Harry B and Izzy are in Year 2 with a new teacher Miss P. It takes a little bit of time to adjust to change and in particular over excited Izzy is struggling to contain her enthusiasm. The children take part in a disco and sleepover on the same night and while it has its moments all goes well in the end. In Chapter 2 the students are very lucky to have one day a week where they attend forest school. Here they can explore nature and on this particular day they also build a bridge across the creek and climb a tall tree. Unfortunately Harry B falls out and breaks his arm but it is not too serious. News and views are shared in Chapter 3 and Isabelle proudly brings in her baby cousin Bibi to show the class. Harry B shares that he is going to live in Alice Springs which upsets Isabelle. He is her best friend and she struggles to cope with her feelings. Harry does ask Isabelle to look after Rowena, his spiny leaf stick insect as it cannot go on the plane, and this helps to ease her disappointment. In Chapter 4 the school concert is being held and Izzy is asked to sing ‘Morning Has Broken’ and chooses Isabelle to sing it with her. It is a great success and Isabelle is overjoyed to see Harry B at the concert. Sadly though Rowena dies and the children bury her in the backyard.

These stories are perfect for newly independent readers who may be familiar with some of the feelings and events taking place. Throughout the book are engaging black and white drawings that will provide visual clues and links for young readers. Of particular interest are the clever letters written by Isabelle which contain words and pictures to be deciphered. An enjoyable read.

Themes: Family, School, Friends, Feelings.

Kathryn Beilby