Next to Alice

Publisher: Barrington Stoke

When Ben is told to sit next to Alice in class, he’s not happy. Everyone knows Alice is scary. But the teacher insists, and soon Alice is pointing out his sloppy drawing and scribbly handwriting. She even suggests they have lunch together. But when Ben thinks about what Alice has said, and makes a few changes, he’s really pleased with the results. And then he has the chance to go back to his old seat. Will he take it?

Few authors capture classroom dynamics as well as Anne Fine, and she doesn’t disappoint here. Children will recognise the subtle undercurrents that occur when a pupil gives another a look. They will also feel comfortable in the school setting. This has gentle humour and the message of putting in effort to see the reward is lightly done – and most appealingly in the form of learning to whistle very loudly.

The pages are tinted yellow and the font is dyslexia-friendly, and the quirky illustrations throughout mean this has wide appeal to every kind of reader.


Pan mae’n rhaid iddo eistedd nesaf at Alice yn y dosbarth, dydy Ben ddim yn hapus. Mae Alice yn codi ofn arno. Cyn hir mae Alice yn tynnu sylw at ei dynnu llun blêr a’i lawysgrifen traed brain. Ond pan mae Ben yn meddwl am y pethau y mae Alice wedi’u dweud ac yn gwneud ychydig o newidiadau, mae’n falch o’r canlyniadau. Ac yna mae ‘n cael cyfle i fynd yn ôl i’w hen sêt. Fydd e’n mynd yn ôl?

Ychydig iawn o awduron sy’n llwyddo i ddal deinamig dosbarth cystal ag Anne Fine, a bydd plant yn adnabod yr isgerhyntau cynnil. Mae yna hiwmor tawel yn y stori a chyflwynir y neges bod angen ymdrechu i weld gwelliannau yn gynnil.


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