Grimwood: Party Animals by Nadia Shireen

Grimwood: Party Animal – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Party fun for all animals.
Children’s book title: Grimwood: Party Animals.
Children’s author: Nadia Shireen.
Genre: Children’s fiction.
Published by: Simon & Schuster.
ISBN: 9781398530027.
Recommended for children aged: 7+ year-olds.
First published: Paperback June 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: sharing with early independent readers to inspire confidence and reading for pleasure.

Grimwood: Party Animals by Nadia Shireen

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Our review:

It would be fair to say you have to rather immerse yourself in the world of Grimwood to follow this madcap adventure; that said, this is exactly where the appeal lies for young readers. The series, as many will already be aware, offers ultimate escapism to children who have just reached the pivotal point of being able to read longer texts alone.

Rather than being faced with the stark reality of a fictional world which reflects the daily struggles children bear witness to, or are part of in their own lives, this series instead provides our youngest readers with a world which is fun-filled and fact-free. It won’t appeal to all, but for some, it will truly provide welcome relief and perhaps, the inspiration to fall in love with reading for pleasure.

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In this particular episode, we meet a crow who has lost her interest in parties! If she is able to regain her usual enthusiasm for such activities and reassert herself as a lead character for the Grimwood group she is going to need the understanding and goodwill of the other animals. In a gentle non-didactic tone Shireen adeptly uses the central problem to open up discussion with pupils about friendship, difference and feelings.

Some of the characters, such as the owl, are much less keen on attending parties from the outset, all have ideas on how to remotivate their friend, but critically they have to learn to listen to each other and work together. These themes are certainly present but never laboured, meaning that children reading independently can immerse themselves in the enjoyment of the story and the themes can quietly weave into their thoughts undetected.

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Similarly, a slowly expanding vocabulary can also be gently embedded through reading the Grimwood series as whilst Shireen truly masters preposterous actions and events for her central characters, these are described vividly and with language that will stretch newly independent readers to develop a meaning of a wide range of new words. It is perhaps refreshing to find this challenge within titles aimed at pupils learning to tackle more sustained chapter books for the first time and something to certainly be commended, making this title and the rest of the series staples for the bookshelves of Y2-Y4.

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Our verdict:

This title, or any in the Grimwood series, is perfect for early independent readers. Perhaps those pupils who have just mastered beginner reads and are ready to finally enjoy a slightly longer story, but for whom it is critical the steps to reading for pleasure success are still available.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the review copy.

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If you like Grimwood: Party Animals by Nadia Shireen you might also like:Grimwood: Attack of the Stink Monster by Nadia Shireen, Astrid and the Space Cadets by Alex T Smith, Adventuremice: Mice on the Moon by Philip Reeve, The Glass Slipper Academy: Fairytale Ninjas by Paula Harrison and Calling the Whales by Jasbinder Bilan.

Browse our  Year 3 book list

About Anna Rushall

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A passionate advocate for English, having taught all year groups across the primary phase and led English for much of the last twenty years, Anna is now using her lifelong enthusiasm for literature to support schools with their English provision on a consultancy basis. LinkedIn | Twitter/X | Reviews by Anna Rushall