Room on the Broom

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Room on the Broom By Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel SchefflerRoom on the Broom‘ is an absolutely delightful picture book written by Julia Donaldson (who also wrote ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’). In this book she has again collaborated with Axel Scheffler who is a wonderful illustrator.

Before you even open ‘Room on the Broom’, you are drawn into the story by the picture on the front cover which shows a witch flying on her broomstick with her cat, cauldron and her magic wand. She is wearing traditional witch’s clothes with a black cape and tall black hat. She even has a wart on her nose. However, we know she is going to be a friendly witch because she has a smile on her face and both she and her cat look happy! This is very good as you don’t want young children to be scared off before you even open the book!

The storyline in ‘Room on the Broom‘ is really quite simple but engrossing. The witch and her cat are flying along when the wind blows off her hat. Immediately they land the broomstick in order to look for it, and eventually they see that a dog has it. He gives it back and asks if there is ‘room on the broom’ for him. The witch says yes and he hops on for the ride. Similar things happen when the witch’s hair bow and wand are blown away. These are found by a bird and a frog who also ask if there is ‘room on the broom’ and eventually all fly off together.

With so many on the broom though, eventually the broom snaps in two. The dog, cat, bird and frog all fall into a bog, whereas, the witch flies into a dark cloud where she is faced by a DRAGON! He announces that he wants to eat her with chips! At this point the witch lands, looking for help, but really thinking that her time is up. She is just about to be eaten when a very scary creature emerges out of a bog – with four heads, feathers and fur, growling, yowling, croaking and shrieking. The creature tells the dragon that ‘this is our witch!’ and the scared dragon makes a very hasty retreat! Of course, it is really the cat, dog, frog and bird all covered in dripping mud! The witch is so grateful that she asks them all to help her find ingredients for a spell which creates a fantastic new broomstick, with seats, a nest and even a shower for the frog, which they all whoosh away on!

The entire story is written as a poem which is great as it gives it a lovely rhythm as you are reading. It will also help your child’s early phonological skills if they can start to recognise the rhyme. My daughter is three and a half, and the first time we shared the book I just read it to her, but the following times she was able to start supplying some of the rhymes which she was really chuffed about!

There is also quite a lot of repetition in some of the rhymes, for example, when each new passenger gets on after they have asked whether there is room:

“Yes!” cried the witch,
and the dog clambered on.
The witch tapped the broomstick and
whoosh! they were gone!

It doesn’t take long for children to pick up the repetitious verses and to join in!

As I said before, I think the illustrations are really good. They are very clear and relate directly to the narrative, so they really help to tell the story. I love the expression on the witch’s face throughout! The first picture of the dragon is quite scary though. I wasn’t sure if it might put my daughter off, but it didn’t, although we didn’t spend too long looking at that page!

I also think that the story has a nice simple message as well. It seems to be saying that if you look after your friends they will look after you which is certainly the case in this story – and a good message for anyone to remember!

So all in all, this is another good children’s read. I think ‘Room on the Broom’ is probably really suitable for about three years upwards but grownups will love it too!


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Room on the Broom
by Julia Donaldson

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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