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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Avoid Living in a Wild West Town - The Danger Zone by Peter Hicks

Avoid Living in a Wild West Town! - Danger Zone S.

This is an ideal text for shared and guided reading for Key Stage 2 pupils within the framework of the National Literacy Strategy. It casts the reader in the role of Jim McGuire, marshal of Dustville, and looks at law and order in a violent and dangerous Wild West town in the late 1800s. The cartoon-style illustrations and descriptive text provide an interesting introduction into the lives, jobs, diseases, law and order and entertainments of the good, bad and wild people of the settlement. The narrative approach encourages readers to get involved with the characters and to follow the story through to its conclusion. The book includes handy hints and informative captions designed to keep you out of trouble.

The reader of this book is asked to imagine they are Jim McGuire, a Marshall of a town set up from a settlement, following the end of the American Civil War (1861-65) on the Great Plains. A town where farmers are trying to grow crops, hunters are killing livestock and  the cowboys are herding millions of cattle across the land and the Plains Indians are trying to protect the land they have owned for many years beforehand.

The style of this series of books is fantastic - I expect that they would be very popular with children. They are great stories which includes lots of history facts, explained in a very child friendly way, but in a way where they can read or listen to the story and gain lots of information without sitting down and learning.

The pages are cleverly put together - the text is split into manageable chunks, with a main picture and lots of little pictures dotted around. The pictures are full of action and I love the stampede illustration - you can imagine how squashed and fast they are moving. 

There are handy hints included on each double page - containing facts and hints which you wouldn't find in most history texts. 

The illustrations within the book are fantastic - the illustrator has captured the rough and rugged cowboy really well and the atmosphere and action within the scenes are captured very cleverly.

I would recommend this book as a great addition to any classroom or school library or anyone who loves cowboys and history.

I received this book as part of a competition win from Salariya Books.

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