The Simple Things

Bill Condon, Beth Norling

The Simple Things
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The Simple Things

Bill Condon, Beth Norling

Stephen has never met his great aunt Lola, and he doesn’t want to. She sends him money twice a year and he always writes back, but Lola is almost eighty - what will they have to talk about?

When they arrive at her house, Stephen discovers she’s grumpy, scary and really, really old. He wants to turn around and go home, but his mum says they have to stay until Lola’s birthday - three weeks away. Left to his own devices, Stephen learns about the simple things in life - like fishing, and cricket, and climbing trees - and the importance of family. Soon Lola entrusts Stephen with a great secret, and he realises that Lola has become more important to him than just an aunt who sends him money - she’s now a friend.

Review

Steven’s first meeting with his great aunt Lola doesn’t win him any points. She seems a bit scary and grumpy, and what on earth are they going to talk about, given she’s ‘really really old’? But the three-week holiday at Lola’s holds many surprises for Steven, including wonderful new friendships with neighbours Norm and Allie, and the discovery that first impressions can be deceiving. In fact, in spite of their age difference, Steven and Lola become firm friends.

This is a heart-warming story exploring themes of family, friendship and the challenges of growing up. Prime Minister’s Literary Award-winning author Bill Condon has written a gentle, humorous story for readers aged 7 and up, and a read-aloud book that both the classroom and family will surely enjoy.


Athina Clarke is a Children’s & YA Book Specialist at Readings Malvern.

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