Lollipop Days (by Margaret Nash)

This is another book I picked up at the Thrift Store to read aloud to my grandson. The blurb on the back sounded interesting, the picture on the front - of two children and some stick insects - looked fairly appealing, and it was published by Young Puffin.

I’d never heard of Margaret Nash, and the book ‘Lollipop Days’ is supposedly a ‘read alone’ book, but many young children like to listen to books that are considerably more advanced than their reading level, and at just three my grandson has not started reading beyond recognising his name. However, as I’m learning, these books are often well written and make interesting read-alouds, even when the child requests them for the third or fourth time in a week…

I don’t know why the title refers to lollipops; it’s the story of two young schoolchildren who meet by chance in a large furniture warehouse. Sam and his family have just moved to the area, so his parents are looking for some new furniture; he is supposed to be choosing a cupboard for his room. He wanders off and meets Robyn-with-a-y who is a girl, although quite a tomboy - and very mischievous. She’s hiding in a roll of carpet when she startles Sam by saying ‘hey’.

Robyn lives just around the corner from Sam’s new house, and they become close friends. In the second chapter they spend some time discussing what to do for Sam’s cat’s birthday, and end up making a special cat-edible cake… forgetting about a game they had been playing.

In the third chapter, the children are in school, towards the end of the autumn term. I don’t know if they’re supposed to be in Reception or Year One, but they’re certainly quite young. Sam has been given the opportunity of looking after the class stick insects over the Christmas holidays. We’re introduced to Gemma, a rather unpleasant girl who tells tales and wants everything for herself, and some drama in the classroom as the stick insect gets lost.

The next chapter is slightly strange, in that Sam and Robyn have been told that the world is going to end. Sam’s parents take them on a picnic, and they realise eventually that the rumour was wrong. In the final chapter they have to make cakes or other goodies for a school concert, and Robyn volunteers Sam to make peppermint mice…

It’s nicely written with some low-key humour that should appeal to most young children. It’s evidently intended for those aged about five or six who have started school; some of the classroom antics went over my grandson’s head. But he liked the book although he didn’t want it all read at one sitting, and asked for the first few chapters to be re-read the next day before we read the later ones.

Review copyright 2017 Sue's Book Reviews

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