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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Mrs Pepperpot Stories
by Alf PrÝysen
Age Range: 9-11
Mrs Pepperpot has all sorts of exciting escapades in this story collection, which incorporates three books in one. Enjoy Little Old Mrs Pepperpot, Mrs Pepperpot Again and Mrs Pepperpotís Outing in this collection, which also features some of Alf PrÝysenís other short stories on a variety of subjects that are a testament to his great creativity and imagination.
In this Mrs Pepperpot collection, enjoy Mrs Pepperpotís earliest adventures, her later adventures and her longest adventure, all of which show off Proysenís inventiveness as he comes up with bolder and funnier shrinking scenarios. Mrs Pepperpot even features in a long, continuous chaptered story in Mrs. Pepperpotís Outing, as she and Mr Pepperpot go out for the day in their car and pick up some unlikely passengers along the way!
Keeping to the tried and tested short story format for the first two books in this three-in-one edition, PrÝysen intersperses his short, simple easy to read tales of Mrs Pepperpot with some individual short stories to add some variety and filling to his novels, working up to longer stories in the same format for Mrs. Pepperpotís Outing. This is a great idea, giving younger readers a sample of PrÝysenís other work, and also makes it seem like time has passed if we rejoin Mrs Pepperpot at a later point than her story left off at.
Younger readers will also enjoy the way that each story - Mrs. Pepperpot or otherwise, stands alone, although the Pepperpot chapters have a loose narrative that links them somewhat. Readers can choose which chapters and tales they wish to read without losing their way in these books, a great way to encourage slower or more reluctant readers to enjoy these books and to help younger readers make steady, gentle progress in perhaps their first reading book as they build-up to the big escapade of Mrs. Pepperpotís Outing.
PrÝysenís readability for children comes in part from his simple vocabulary and friendly story length and plots, but there is also a real pleasure to be gained from his work. These are very imaginative stories, and they no doubt remain popular today because PrÝysen picks enduring subjects that children can picture easily and adds a twist or touch of magic to everyday scenarios that are not beyond childrenís grasp. PrÝysen gives us a familiar world but shows it from another perspective. Animals can talk, toys come alive and a house looks very different when youíre only the size of a pepper-pot! It is this charm and somehow slightly believable magic that have captivates readers.
PrÝysenís stories are also surprisingly touching and thought-provoking; a story showing that slightly broken or unwanted toys can be mended and loved and precious to others, encourages children to share; Mr Puffblow demonstrates that sometimes people donít show their true selves, we can learn a lesson on ego from The potato with big ideas and Mrs Pepperpot continually shows bravery and resourcefulness and often helps or stands up for weaker characters or the underdog as well as providing laughter.
Ultimately, this collection of Mrs. Pepperpot gives readers a little bit of everything; shorter stories, longer stories, Mrs Pepperpotís adventures at home and further afield and a host of PrÝysenís other stories with a variety of subjects. Discover toys on a mission to find their true owners, see how mice spend Christmas Eve and meet some of Mrs Pepperpotís new friends! In particular, look out for stories of Gapy Gob, the hapless but kindly ogre who pops up quite a few times and is perhaps due to a mini storybook of his own!
Abby Phillips (2016)