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Dread Cat by Michael Rosen has been sent to me by Barrington Stoke publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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Regular readers will know how much I love Barrington Stoke, who specialise in publishing books tested by children, and with children who have dyslexia and reading problems in mind in terms of format. Wide spaced text, a readable font, non white pages and a size perfect for small hands are just a few of the things that make the books so great.

In the Little Gem collection of which Dread Cat is a part, you also get the stories split into easily manageable chapters and wonderful extras like puzzles and games on the books’ integrated fly leaves and beautifully illustrated end papers.

As you would expect from Michael Rosen the story is fresh and funny. A smart cat, the Dread Cat of the title, decides to make his domestic life easier by figuring out a cunning plan by which to trick the house mice to their doom, and in the manner of the best of these stories, the mice figure out how to get their own back on Dread Cat.

The story is beautifully complemented by illustrations from Nicola O’Byrne. I particularly love her depiction of Dread Cat himself who has more than a hint of one of T. S. Eliots more rambunctious felines about him.

The story is perfect for new readers aged 5-8. My son’s primary school uses a lot of the Little Gem series in their individual class libraries throughout the school and they are perennially popular with the children. This will be another great addition to their collection.

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