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Project X: The Ballerina of Doom

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Anthony McGowan / Paperback / 32 Pages / Book is published 20010-04-22 by OUP Oxford

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      03.11.2011 16:19
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      I fully credit this series with turning my son into an avid reader. Worth every penny.

      Project X books were specifically designed for the school systems to increase the reading scores of boys. They happen to be brilliant for parents who want to encourage their sons to become active readers as well. They are carefully graded, so that each level is just a little bit more difficult than the one before, allowing boys to progress smoothly and easily through the various stages of literacy. This book has wonderful CGI illustrations, but with so many pictures and only 32 pages, there just is not enough space for many of the stories. Project X has solved this by releasing many of the stories divided between two books. They can be bought on their own, or as part of a pack of 5 which will include three fiction books and two non fiction books.

      This book is the second half of a story which began in 'Toyshop Terror'. There is a two page recap of the first book, so it would be possible to read this book on it's own, but I would not recommend it as a single book. To get the most from the story - you do need both books. To get the most from these books for educational purposes, you really need several sets so that the child can gradually learn new vocabulary as the progress through them. The books feature a group micro friends - children with special watches which allow them to shrink. The problem is, an evil scientist wants the watches back!

      'Toyshop Terror' ended on a cliffhanger with Tiger trapped by an evil X-bot. Thankfully his friends arrive just in time to save the day, but the X-bot isn't finished yet. It quickly takes over and reprogrammes a huge ballerina doll which comes after the miniaturised friends with glowing red eyes shouting "DO YOU WANT TO DANCE!" This doll combines elements of a spoiled child with those of evil dolls from B movies. It continues after the children, stomping it's feet in rage, and the stage is set for a battle of the toys. This book has everything, remote controlled airplanes ( which of course the micro sized children can actually fly in), electric trains and of course a creepy and yet comical evil doll.

      Both of my boys, ages 3 and 6 love this story. The 3 year old likes putting his arms out like the lurching doll calling "DO YOU WANT TO DANCE!" My six year old on the other hand has taken this book to bed with him many times to read over and over again. It's great fun just as a story, but also brilliant as a reading primer as well. I think these books really helped my son make the jump from picture books to chapter books. The longer stories and more complex vocabulary gave him the reading ability, but the small books with plenty of illustrations seemed less intimidating to him than chapter books. The thick chapter books with so many pages and few illustrations just appeared too difficult for him to want to try. These books built his abilities and confidence level to the point that one night, as I read a chapter book, he looked at the text and realised he could read it himself. It was a joyous discovery that has led to him devouring every book he can lay hands too. He now loves nothing better than going to bed with a book of his own after I am finished reading for the night. As a parent I am delighted beyond measure to see him take such pleasure in books - and I'm not complaining about the extra time of peace and quiet as he reads himself to sleep either!

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    • Product Details

      Tiger wants the latest Robo-Rex II toy, but Mum says that he needs to save his pocket money. Tiger decides he can't wait that long and so sets out on a micro-adventure in the story Toyshop Terror. But little does he know that there is an X-bot about! Find out if Max, Cat and Ant can rescue Tiger from the X-bot and get out of the toyshop in The Ballerina of Doom. Join the four micro-friends on an adventure in a greenhouse when Tiger gets into trouble again, in Get Me Out of Here!. Find out about escapologists in the non-fiction book Escape Artists. Then read about how prisoners have been kept though history, in Imprisoned. Each book comes with notes for parents that highlight ambitious words or concepts in the books, prompt questions and suggest a range of follow-up activities. The Trapped Guided Reading Notes provide step-by-step guided reading support for each book in the Trapped cluster, together with guidance about comprehension, assessment for learning and vocabulary enrichment. Hands-on follow-up activities, plenty of writing opportunities and cross-curricular links are also provided for each book.