Book review: The Road to Ever After by Moira Young

The Road to Ever After

When the lives of two lonely characters collide, a story of deep sensitivity and personal growth begins. 13-year-old orphan, Davy David ekes out an existence on the fringes of life in the back-water town of Brownvale. Rising early each day from his home in the churchyard yew trees, Davy hides from Mr Kite the gang-master (who patrols the streets for down-and-outs) by sheltering in the local library and movie-theatre.  Things take a turn for the worse when the town’s tyrannical clergyman, Parson Fall, discovers that Davy is the secretive artist who’s been decorating the yards of Brownvale with his drawings of angels. Turning-in Davy to Mr Kite, would give Parson Fall no greater pleasure.

Fortunately, Davy stumbles into the overgrown grounds of a dilapidated museum on the edges of town. Here he meets ancient, decrepit and reclusive Miss Elizabeth Flint. Wanted by Parson Fall, and with little to keep him in Brownvale, Davy accepts an offer of employment with Miss Flint. And so a most miraculous adventure begins.

In a story peppered with references to the silver screen, it is hard not draw parallels to It’s A Wonderful Life and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Of course, to young readers these references will be less apparent and so perhaps the direction of the narrative less certain.

The Road To Ever After is a beautifully crafted tale. The two main characters are given time to develop and we continue to learn about them up to the final pages. Moira Young summons a world of indeterminate time, somewhere in the past and in a place never quite established – both of which add to the sense of mystery in the story.

Keen readers will note the socially pertinent references to a local authority unable to provide for its vulnerable citizens: both young and old. A place where the local library faces closure and the obvious future impact of this on those who seek refuge in the books and warmth of a shared and valued place.

This book is an ideal choice for shared whole-class reading in upper KS2. It offers multitudinous opportunities for discussion about life, death, social care, theft and so much more. With the current KS2 Reading SATs emphasis on vocabulary and inference, this text offers opportunities for teachers to scrutinise the author’s choice of language and how she creates meaning in and between the words she had written.

A special book to be treasured.

Watch the official book trailer here.

The Road to Ever After official trailer

Rachel Clarke, Director Primary English Education

All content on the Primary English website is owned by Rachel Clarke.

It’s all about the preparation

Preparing a stimulating transition project based on book trailers and quality children’s literature.

The idea for this blog post has been in my head for a while but I was struggling to write it as I couldn’t find a suitable hook on which to hang my ideas. That was until yesterday when I had one of those over the garden fence exchanges with my next door neighbour Derek. For the past few days I’ve been renovating our garden furniture. It’s been quite a job. I’ve sanded it back to the bare wood. Treated it with wood renovator to remove that nasty grey hue that older wooded furniture acquires, and now I’ve begun to stain and seal the furniture. I’m not finished yet but it’s looking fabulous. Dare I say it: as good as new. Now Derek had been watching this labour of furniture love unfurl and during our garden fence conference said (with just the tiniest hint of irony) that I should write a blog about my efforts. Voila! There it was, the hook I’d been looking for. My renovation project has been a success due to the simple act of good preparation.

It's all about the preparation.

It’s all about the preparation.

Transition day has a habit of creeping up on us and catching us unawares. All of a sudden we’re waving this year’s class off for a morning with Mrs So-and-So and ferreting around for something suitable to do with the new recruits who don’t yet understand the golden rules of not fiddling with the table trays, not swinging on their chairs or uttering the mildly irritating, “But our teacher always says/does/has/let’s us do that.” Ah the joy.

Finding out about your new class by asking them to create “All About Me” bunting or a “Family Coat of Arms” is fine but it’s not the most stimulating way to spend a morning with your new class, the potential for good-quality display is limited and it does seem to stand alone. Transition is about movement, passage or change from one position to another. So when we embark on a transition project with children we should really be looking for something that spans the ‘moving up day’ and the beginning of the new academic year. Doing this well requires a little bit of preparation but the results are so much more rewarding for all involved.

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