Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Eat your Kipper, have a Chip or I'll Biff you. New books please!

Please tell me I am not the only person with primary school-aged children who abhors the characters in the Oxford early reading books, not to mention the ridiculous names they have?

I mean, honestly, have you ever come across a Kipper (aside from breakfast), or a Chip (without fish) or even a Biff (unless you were throwing a punch)? No, I didn't think so.
And let's not even talk about the political correctness that pervades the pages. Or Floppy the most idiotic dog that ever existed.

Maybe it's just me. Although even OH (who does the bulk of the reading with the kids as his tolerance level is far higher) can be caught on many occasions rolling his eyes skywards.

However, I was sent some fabulous books recently by Jo at Bayard Press - what a revelation!
Bayard produce three monthly books for school-aged children: StoryBox (3-6 year olds), AdventureBox (6-9 year olds) and DiscoveryBox (9-12 year olds). They are jam-packed with exciting stories, characters, games and activities and can be enjoyed on their own and as a teaching aid. And in the July edition of DiscoveryBox, there is a great competition to win a WWF tiger adoption pack!
Stick that in your pipe Biff and smoke it.

Suffice to say my three pounced on the books, the eldest is sleeping with 'his' ones (so his siblings do not nick them), the younger two are democratically 'taking turns' reading theirs, and I have lent some to our neighbours as well to get their input. If that does not make for a positive review, then I don't know what does.

Now I just need to convince the school to diversify and invest in books with characters that do not sound like members of a dance troupe on Britain's Got Talent.

Who said I don't relish a challenge?


  1. Oh my! I had almost forgotten about the horrors of Biff, Chip and Kipper but I'm about to start all over again when my third starts primary school in September *head/desk*

  2. That makes two of us! Trying to get no.2 to 'speed read' (she is year 1...) so we can move on to chapter books quick smart before I have to endure double session every evening.

  3. I was always amazed how obsessive teachers were with reading schemes. I was a junior head so most of the reading book buying was done at a younger level but it was always difficult to get Yr 6 boys to have any affliation with the ORT crew!

  4. You know I will support you in your campaign to get rid of these dull, idiotic books....zzz (sorry, just the thought of them sends me to sleep). Count me in for picketing Michael Gove - I'm very good with poster paint. To think that my eldest child is only in the first year of school, and I have years and years of Kipp, Chipper and Biff to look forward to. Sigh.

    I suspect the silly names have a politically correct thought behind them, however, as (hopefully) any Kippers or Chips in school will be confined to the canteen. Imagine the teasing all the Jacks and Emilys would get if the books were filled with their exploits.

    (responded to in haste, as always - could go on and on otherwise...)

  5. I hear you sister! I have a daughter in year 1 and I loath her Biff, Chip & Kipper reading books. We get through the set school books and choose something from her shelf on other nights. I've told the teacher too. They didn't mind. My eldest daughter who is now 15 also had the joy of Biff, Chip etc and they haven't changed at all.

  6. I am going to propose new (totally un-PC) names for characters: Caca(this will appeal to Pants with Names), Wee-wee and Fufu for starters.

    Other suggestions include Dongle, Pube, Arse and Tittie.

  7. My eldest daughter who is about to go to uni (yes, I am that old) did the Oxford Reading Tree ! You'd have thought they'd have updated by now

  8. I'm off to amazon, what with the oh so pious Italian readers and the second hand readers I lugged back from the UK I could do with abreath of fresh air in the bookshelf zone.

  9. We haven't got there yet (who knows what books they'll be reading in the US) but whatever happened to good old Peter and Jane and The Dog?

  10. I have endured the ORT series for 14 years. It has just come to an end (thank god) and I couldn't care less whether I see Biff, Chip or Kipper ever again and the magic key should be shoved up Floppy's arse.

    The only book we enjoyed is when the horse got drunk on rotten apples :D

  11. ... and as Nappy Valley Girl says... Bring back Peter and Jane - all is forgiven :D

  12. Talking of ridiculous names in reading schemes - I was at primary school in the early 80s when publishers were just realising they needed to include more than just white characters in their books.

    *Each and every* South Asian girl was accordingly called Gita...

  13. Aggghhh is this all to come when Elf starts school in September??? -HMx

  14. PS Have now started the 3rd of the Steig Larsson (?) books, LOVE THEM. I'm glad I took your advice and tried again on the 1st, brilliant. -HMx

  15. I wholeheartedly agree with your views of Biff, Chip et al. They make me want to find the author and cause pain.

    I had an email from aforesaid Jo recently. Damn it. Should have answered that one and asked for some books!! Flipping school holidays. They get in the way of blogging I find ;-)

    MD xx

  16. Would happily make a stand with you for new names for the early readers' names but is any name politically correct these days. I have to say picking the right name for a character in a YA novel is bad enough, god forbid trying to find one for a 6 year old!

  17. It was the annoyance of the names in the books which led me to this thread! Why can't we just have normal names like Tom or James etc and as for the ones that I can't pronounce......?!!!


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