I was recently offered the opportunity to review one of the Rollercoasters stories and since we have already read a number of the these books, used their Free to download resources that go with the books and have always enjoyed them, I jumped at the opportunity to review one more. And I must confess I already knew which book I wanted (I have been eyeing this book out for a few months because I was just convinced my son would love this story) so I immediately asked for Bug Muldoon and the Garden of Fear by Paul Shipton.
As soon as the book arrived I read the first 2 pages and I was chuckling and just knew this book was going to be a hit. I had meant to do it with just my son but my daughter heard us reading the story together and quickly joined us on the couch because she loved the way Bug Muldoon spoke (it reminded me of a 70’s detective show). And honestly all three of us LOVED this story, both kids did not want to put the book down and were totally drawn to the writing style, the characters and the whole concept of this little beetle living in someone’s back garden and working as a Private Investigator (my son has started coming up with some of his own scenarios completely inspired by this author).
The story is a fun adventure/ detective story with wonderful characters (we loved the horse fly who is addicted to sugar and shakes), and there is nothing scary or gruesome in here. The book is aimed at the 11 – 14 age range (so KS3) but I used it with my son who is Year 6. And content / reading level it is definitely fine for a Year 6 student.
As a home educator one of the reasons why I love reading the Rollercoasters books (and they do have a good range to choose from) is the fact that they have FREE to download resources linked to these books. All of the resource packs are slightly different but they always contain a summary, lesson plans and activities (worksheets). We have worked through a few of these packs and depending on the book we do them differently – sometimes we do every lesson and stick to the recommended pages for each session and other times we read the book at our own pace and just do a few of the activities (both work). With this book I choose to stick very closely to the suggested lesson plan – mainly because I wanted it to be my son’s main English activity for 2 weeks. So we actually only missed one of the suggested lessons and we did the rest.
I really liked the way they broke down which chapters to read each day (it was roughly 2 chapters a day) which I felt worked really well and for each lesson there tended to be 2 activities. The activities were varied – they included some general Grammar activities (which I really appreciated as my son enjoys having his grammar linked to stories)
and they included some really great writing activities – things like thinking about your characters, planning a story, writing a newspaper article. The writing activities were brilliant for the simple reason they were tied to this story had this story and the characters really inspired my son so he happily sat and wrote and wrote and then wrote some more (which made me love this book even more).
We LOVED this story. We Loved everything about it and highly recommend it as a brilliant, engaging story for ages 10+. We also recommend having a look at the Free to download resources, they are a great way to practice some English skills and for us practicing English is always easier when the activities are linked to an entertaining book.
Admin – As I mentioned above we were offered a free copy of a Rollercoasters book and I chose this particular book as I had already read a bit about it and was convinced my son was going to enjoy it. We were not paid for this post and all opinions expressed are those of my readers (my son and daughter) and of course myself.