BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Girls (available here)
Author: Lauren Ace
Illustrator: Jenny Løvlie
Publisher: Caterpillar Books
Publication Date: July 2018
Most Suitable For: Reception to Year 6!
Reviewed By: Jane Carter, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education
This is a picture book with a clear message about the power and durability of friendship. The book begins with four small girls playing together under an apple tree and as they grow-up, the apple tree continues to blossom and grow just like their friendship.
The illustrations throughout the book, and particularly in the first few pages, offer an idyllic picture of the world the girls inhabit. As with any group of friends, the four girls are very different: they look different and enjoy many different things but the friendship is strong despite this.
The story continues by following the girls as they gradually grow older. We see the games and then activities change and move beyond the bows of the apple tree until, as they reach young adulthood, the differences take them in a variety of directions as they study and finally begin work in the wider world. What remains strong, right to the last page, is the bond of friendship the girls have for each other.
The book ends with the girls - now a group of young women - meeting together under the same apple tree. Some have children of their own and others have careers in far-away places – and yet, despite the differences, the friendship remains.
This is a powerful story for girls in particular, perhaps seeing themselves mirrored in the girls' identities, choices and activities. It is a good book for discussing friendship, celebrating differences and the uniqueness of each individual. In an age where a particular image of what it means to be a girl or a young women is prevalent, this is a useful book to encourage discussion and debate and what it means to be an individual as well as a friend.
PHSE – friendship, celebrating difference
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Jane for reviewing it.