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Cell Wars: In the Beginning by A. Miles is a book that tries, in a narrative, fictionalised way to explain the workings of human blood and how it helps fight diseases. This is the first book by author A. Miles, but it seems clear from the way the story unfolds, and indeed, the title of the book, that more of these volumes are in the pipeline.

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This would make a perfect transitional reader or chapter book, for a newly confident reader. The text is nice and clear in an easily manageable font. There are not too many words per page and there is a good amount of white space left on the page and between lines for a child to orient their eyes properly. There are also lots of clear, simple, black and white drawings which add to the text and give a child a familiar reminder of the picture books they will have left behind. The only thing I would add here as an addendum is that some of the vocabulary is quite tricky, and I would give this to a child who is very confident in sounding words out, who isn’t afraid to tackle new words, and who already has a fairly rich vocabulary. If I were putting this book in our school library, I would put it in as a guided free reader. One of the books we give our children after they have finished the reading scheme, but before they tackle regular novels. I would put it at the top end of the free reading spectrum, just before a child is ready to move on to total free reading.

I would also recommend this as a guided reader in class, particularly if you are doing a science topic over a term. It would be easily manageable within the six or seven weeks before a half term, and has plenty of scope for great topic work and discussions to come out of the material in the book.

It tells the story of Bands, a white blood cell, eager to do his job defending the body from the onslaught of attacks by bacteria, the danger of wounds and other infections. Bands is eager but young, and desperate to get into the front line of battle. He wants a mission where he can feel important, but over the course of the book Bands comes to realise that team work is as important as what you do for yourself, and that life on the front line can be pretty hairy.

This is an exciting, fast paced adventure which brings science to life in a fun and accessible way for both boys and girls aged seven to twelve.

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