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Jacqueline Wilson, how can you tell how age appropriate they are?

32 replies

lexcat · 28/03/2009 10:10

DD soon to be 8 has just read the Suit Case Kid which she's loved, the only problem is some of the language. DD for example asked me what "slut" meant. I don't know if that was the only bad language used but was a little shocked as the book was from the school library.

She's keen to read more JW which I don't mind but hope to be able to help her choose what is suitable for her age. This made harder by the fact she has a reading level of a 10.5 year old, therefore can read book beyond what may be suitable. But having gone from bookworm to hardly reading last year, she's now reading again but not as avidly as she was so don't like to discourage her in any way.

OP posts:
BlueCowWondersWhenItsChocTime · 28/03/2009 11:21

bumpity bump - same query here!

librarymice · 28/03/2009 20:46

Her youngest titles include "Buried Alive", "cliffhanger", "The cat Mummy", "sleepovers" but she might find them too easy. "Double Act" or "The Lottie Project" could be ok but more or less all of her "older" novels deal with social issues. You could try her on "Jacky Daydream" which the first of her autobiographical novels.

lexcat · 29/03/2009 18:36

What I like to see is her reading and enjoying books weather they be to easy or not. The easy ones just get read very fast and the harder ones last 2-3 nights.
My main worry is the suitability, we've just got "The Cat Mummy" and "The Were-puppy" from the library yesterday she's already read the were puppy (and loved) and hoping to read the cat mummy tonight. Just hope their OK they were in the younger children's section.

OP posts:
seeker · 29/03/2009 18:42

I wouldn't give a child of this age any but the younger titles. And a warning - my dd was BADLY upset by the Cat Mummy at this age - I would strongly advise reading it first. It won't take long.

I would try Karen McCombie or Hilary Mackay as more suitable but still the same sort of 'issue based' books. And both, in my opinion, significantly better written than JW - who, by virtue of clever marketing appears to have cornered the market!

MitchyInge · 29/03/2009 18:55

read them first, that's what I do

girlandboy · 29/03/2009 18:56

Go to your library because the books are already sorted into suitable age ranges.

I work in a library and frequently have to explain to parents that a book marked as teenage or 15+ is unsuitable for little 8 year old dd because of the content. Most parents are ok, though some will argue that "well, she's quite capable of reading older books." I don't dispute this, but the content will be unsuitable.

The books will be rated in the library just like films have a rating.

snice · 29/03/2009 19:01

Well actually theyre not rated in our library! The Were-Puppy is next to say Diamond Girls which causes all sorts of problems with my daughter. Only the older teenage fiction is in a seperate section.

When I asked the librarian for advice she said she wished there were age recommendations on the covers as some of them were unsuitable for under 10s. DD is 7 going on 14 by the way.

WhoTookMyMemoryStick · 29/03/2009 19:06

I had a look at one at the library in the under 12 section. Thank goodness I did as the girl gave a boy in her class a blowjob, even though she didn't want to, just because everyone else did.

Our library burnt down a few years ago and all the stock is brand new. I think that they hadn't had time to scrutinise each book. Also we rented a Michael Morpurgo audio tape rated under 12 that detailed a teen contemplating, at length, suicide. Which was nice on a 6 hour car trip.

Do have a flick through first. All her books are interesting, you just need to be sure of the age-group.

girlandboy · 29/03/2009 19:22

I'm really shocked about your libraries. Mine is quite strict about the categories and no new book comes in without it having been rated.

Looks like you may have to read them yourself first.

lexcat · 29/03/2009 19:53

Small problem in pre reading dd books is the time factor. She's can speed read and I can't what takes her a night will take me two.

That is one of the main reason I possed the question of what JW is age suitable for my dd. So need to know what the younger novels are.

OP posts:
seeker · 29/03/2009 21:50

OK. I may be over cautious here, but I wouldn't let a 7 year old read ANY Jaqueline Wilson - even the ones for younger readers without reading it myself first. Even if they are suitable, they all contain themes and ideas which I would want to be prepared to discuss. The Cat Mummy, for example has a very unhappy child keeping the body of a dead cat in her wardrobe.

librarymice · 30/03/2009 21:21

ALL the kids in JW's books are unhappy! . It gets wearing after a while and a lot of the older kids (at my school anyway)have given up on her for this very reason.

Ivykaty44 · 30/03/2009 21:23

I read them first with dd1 and now dd2 is reading them.

Thing with reading them first is you know what the questions are going to be and in what contex the words are used.

Fennel · 31/03/2009 15:57

My 8 and 7yo dds have read quite a few. Some of the ones I'd consider suitable for a 7/8yo, besides the ones mentioned here:

Connie and the water babies
Vicky angel
Tracy Beaker
Lizzie Zipmouth

also, as others have mentioned:
Double act

My dds have read a couple of the ones probably not suitable for this age too - Dustbin baby, illustrated mum, but we talk about the issues which they deal with and I quite like these opportunities. We know lots of children in situations similar to the books so I find it helpful as a discussion starter - children who've been adopted or are in children's homes, children who have possibly fatal illnesse, children whose parents die or desert them. These things do happen to our acquaintances and my dds do notice, so I don't see the books which deal with the issues as too inappropriate. Real life is pretty inappropriate at times.

Littlepurpleprincess · 31/03/2009 16:02

I would leave JW until she's a bit older. I read a few when I was a bit older and they are quite heavy. Tracey Beaker is a good one, it has been made into a series for Cbbc and isn't too grown up but I would still read it first.

spenthen · 01/04/2009 16:20

Fennel, I'd dispute the suitability of Vicky Angel - which I took back to my DD's school this very morning as I didn't enjoy being asked by a 7 year old what prostitution means! Also the word "slag", and the fact that the central character bemoans having died without having the chance to experience sex (that bit was in a section which DH was reading to her as her bedtime story, so he had to do some very rapid re-wording!).

A shame really, cos I thought the central story was really well handled. But the characters are teenagers and I'm really not sure that this book belongs in a primary school library at all (DD is my eldest though, so I'm not very well up on what age older kids really start reading about sex!).

I think we might hold back from JW for a bit, though Tracy Beaker and Cliffhanger both went down a treat.

Fennel · 01/04/2009 19:59

Oh well, then perhaps not Vicky Angel then. I've read some of the books, which seem fine, but not others. My dds don't seem too traumatised or overly-knowing though, maybe they gloss over these bits.

SnowWoman · 01/04/2009 21:42

If she is good reader then you could try things like Heidi, Ballet Shoes, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Borrowers, Harry the Poisonous Centipede, Witch Baby and Me, How to Train Your Dragon, The Tail of Emily Windsnap - there are lots of classics and new writing that are worth reading, and a bit of a challenge, but are not inappropiate in terms of content. I would stick to the younger level Hilary McKay and Karen McCombie though.

You do have to watch out for the age level that some publishers put on books - many are just plain wrong, IMVHO.

tiggerlovestobounce · 01/04/2009 21:50

"The Monster Story Teller" by JW is suitable for a youger child, IMO.

Fennel · 02/04/2009 10:13

If she likes Jacqueline Wilson she might also like Anne Fine, who writes books for a variety of ages, but, like JW, "issue-based" stories. There are quite a few suitable for 7-8 year olds.

Amanda1977 · 14/04/2009 22:30

As a general rule JW titles with "Corgi Pups" on the spine are for first readers, "Young Corgi" for next level and "Corgi Yearling" for around 9+, anything with just "Corgi" on the spine is definately for teenagers. Hope that helps.

Amanda1977 · 14/04/2009 22:34

Whotookmymemeorystick, what was the title of the first book you mentioned in the under 12 section of your library? I agree about "Frome Hereabout Hill" by Michael Morpurgo - Some of the stories in that are great for Year 6 but certainly not that one!

nwmum · 01/05/2009 13:40


I too have had this problem with JW and Cathy Cassidy. We have found Anne Fine to be a lot better.

ramonaquimby · 01/05/2009 13:44

have you tried any of the Michael Morpugo books? they are fab and really lovely stories. I don't want my dd reading any JW books just yet (7) I don't think they are age appropriate even tho she could easily read them. I do think that JW is a bit overrated as a writer

tiggerlovestobounce · 01/05/2009 13:44

I just bought 'The Suitcase Kid' for my 6 year old. I didnt look at it properly first, and my oldest DD is 6, so that book will have to be put away for a few years...

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