Exciting guest post…

Today, my blog has been taken over by Dylan… he’s the 10 year old superstar I’m currently tutoring. We’ve been reading, sharing and writing about a book which has culminated in a cracking review written by Dylan.

Purpose: to review
Audience: parents (Dylan’s choice)
Form: online review / blog
Skills: paragraphing, expanded noun phrases, simile, metaphor, semi-colon, conjunctions, relative clauses, brackets and interesting sentence openers


Peggy is a puppy pug by Dylan Griffiths Robinson

Self portrait drawn via our online classroom (although he’s taken a creative licence with the stubble).

Book: “The Pug who wanted to be a Unicorn”
Author / illustrator: Bella Swift
Publisher: Orchard Books
Age range: 9 – 99
Pages: 154
Chapters: 8

Pug rating: 5/5


Suzanne (a shopping addict) buys Peggy because she’s a shopping addict and she thinks Peggy will make her stylish. Trying to play on her own (because Suzanne usually leaves Peggy behind), Peggy stupendously messes up the house. Very, very, very, badly. Like a squished-up, giant-eyed, wrinkly bulldozer smashing through a couch. And a ceiling. And a wall. And an armchair. And a litter tray.

Provoked, Suzanne dumps Peggy at a shelter and walks away. It’s nearly Christmas! Peggy feels indescribably heartbroken. Fortunately, she is fostered by a down-to-earth family with three children: Finn (oldest child), Chloe (middle child) and Ruby (toddler). They plan to keep her over Christmas.

Peggy being comforted by the other shelter dogs (artwork by Dylan)

Peggy is convinced that if she becomes like Sparkalina (a unicorn), they’ll keep her. She fails dramatically… that’s all I’m telling you.

The paw bits

Are you ready for a joke? Well, it’s not really a joke but it’s more a sentence that’s funny. I wish I could complain more (most people know I am a moaner) but it’s just the best book in the world so I’ve only got two complaints. First of all, there are not many pages; there’s only one hundred and (hold up, I’m counting) fifty four pages. I wish it was longer because there’s not enough Peggy-ness. Second of all, the front cover is too glitzy. Parents or guardians might only pick it up for their daughters because it’s overly feminine. The front cover is too cheesy as well but the story isn’t cheesy… it’s a balance between everything-is-perfect-wooooo and serious.

The tail wags

Peggy is as cute as a sleeping kitten, that’s as small as the palm of your hand, in a tiny green dinosaur costume, purring adorably (sorry… I’ve been stuck inside for three months and have a loooooooooooot to say). An example of her cuteness is when Chloe teases Finn about a girl and then Finn throws spaghetti at Chloe but misses; it ends up endearingly on Peggy’s head. She slurps it up like a delightful, little vacuum cleaner.

Awww (artwork by Dylan)

Oh, oh, oh. I was told by my tutor that I have to write about the boring stuff, so here it is… Because there are different age ranges, a lot of people can relate to the characters. There are teenagers, children, toddlers and adulty-adults. Furthermore, the chapter lengths were adequate because they didn’t take too much time at bedtime and are easy for your little turds to read! The illustrations (which are monochrome) do not distract because they blend into the writing; however, they are very detailed and charming. Moreover, you might want to head to the library because there are more adventures with llama bridesmaids and puppy princesses – Bella Swift has written seven more books and four of them include Peggy the pug. Apologies to the wallets of the parents reading this but all are £5.99 each on Amazon or, of course, free from your library.

Kids can learn non-fiction facts from inside fiction. For example, this book deals with dog adoption and dog fostering. Also dogs can be extraordinarily hard work and some people treat them like fashion accessories.  

No spoilers. It’s fine for all year even though it’s Christmas in the book because it doesn’t make a big ado about it being festive. The ending is incredible; I won’t spoil it but it’s heart-warming and that’s all I’m going to say.

Shhh… don’t wake the puppy (artwork by Dylan)


Overall, I thought it was the best book in the world and really compelling. It was so exceptional, I did most of the reading myself! Even Mum was impressed (and that’s normally impossible). Peggy deserves a rating of 5 puggies out of 5.

If you drive satisfaction from books such as “Middle School” by James Patterson or “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, you will get a buzz from Peggy’s story. Aaaaand, before you go, try the tongue twister – my heading for the blog. After extensive research, Dad was the worst tongue twister in this house.

Happiness level 10

Some days, in the library, the tiniest event will make you burst with happiness. In fact, the highs and lows (and highs and lows and highs and lows) remind me a great deal of the emotional rollercoaster of teaching because with the highs you know you’ve really helped someone else.

On Tuesday 22nd January 2019, at approximately 11 a.m., I experienced a level 10 happiness buzz. A chatty, bright, regular student was working in the library with the rest of her class and their lecturer. They were preparing for a looming assignment on animal disease… I can’t remember what, specifically. Our conversations went something like this.


Student: I don’t know how a library works.

Me: (Blank face) Eh?

Student: Honestly, how does it work?

Me: (Still looking confused) But… but… you’re always in here. Using it. That’s how it works. You come in and do what you need to do.

Student: Yeah… but how does a library work?

(I assume she means that she doesn’t know how the catalogue works or how to locate books on the shelves, both are common issues for our students).

Me: Right. Well, what are you researching today?

Student: We have to write about [specific topic I cannot recall].

Me: Ok. Come around here so you can see my computer. (I open the catalogue, show her how to use search terms and we write down some Dewey numbers for potentially useful books). Now we use these numbers like clues in a treasure hunt. Follow me.

(We walk around the library. I show her how the shelves are zoned and how to look for books first by locating the whole number, then the numbers after the decimal point and then the letters. We pick maybe four or five books. I’m feeling pleased that I’ve helped another student to become a more independent book seeker).

Me: Shall we add them to your account? You can do the scanning bit, if you like.

Student: Why would we add them to my account?

Me: Well, that’s a lot of reading. You might not finish it this lesson so you could carry on reading them at home. Maybe mark the useful pages with post-its.

Student: (Completely stunned, blank face).

Me: Okaaaaay. (Assuming she thought the pile looked unmanageable to lug home). Well I guess it’s a big stack; we could always leave it on the reservations shelf for you so they’re here next lesson.

Student: (A few seconds silence). You mean I can take the books home?

Me: Yes.

Student: To my house?

Me: Errr. Yeah…

Student: (Huge gasp).

Me: (Baffled). Are you okay?

Student: (Shouting and running around the library, and the adjoining computer room, addressing everyone in her lesson. Actually, even people who were not in her group). Oh my God, guys. Guys! Guys! Did you know we can TAKE THE BOOKS HOME?! This is the BEST THING EVER.

Me: (Internally). Ah. So when she said she didn’t know how the library worked, she literally meant she didn’t know how the library worked.


The student returned at lunch time and the end of the day and repeated the same public service announcement to anyone she hadn’t caught earlier in the day… all with the same enthusiasm and unbridled joy. At least half of the people she spoke to also hadn’t realised they could take the books home.

It was such a pleasure to watch someone realise one of the basic tenets of a library. Kept me smiling for several days. It also served as a reminder that I shouldn’t assume anything, ever.