Our book review this week is on Night Noises by Mem Fox. It is one of those lovely books that takes you by surprise with its depth and meaning. It was not a Mem Fox I was familiar with until very recently, but it is now, one of my favourites.
Lillie Laceby is nearly 90 years old. She lives a very quiet life with her old dog, Butch Aggie. One night, whilst dozing in her chair, things around Lillie’s house are not so quiet, but Lillie just keeps dreaming…
Why I love it:
As I said, this book took me by surprise; my son brought it home from kinder and on that first night it was my husband who read it aloud to the kids, while I fell in love with it. It is a story about aging and about how even though we get older and our bodies and abilities change, at heart and in our heads, we remain who we always were. Each page of the book has a small illustration showing what Lillie Laceby is dreaming of at that moment. Page by page, her dreams are of a younger and younger self and her life is played out. The story has a sweet ending (which I won’t give away) and the last line is divine. This book really makes me reflect on my own life, what has been and what will come. I also adore the character names: Lillie Laceby and Butch Aggie – great names!! Night Noises is a bit of a gem.
Themes to discuss with your child:
- Physical versus mental changes
- The circle of life
Questions to ask your child:
- What do you think this book might be about?
- Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
- What do we already know about the woman pictured on the front cover?
- Do you think the dog is her dog or someone else’s dog? Why do you think this?
- What kind of weather are they having outside the room pictured? How can we know this?
- How old do you think the woman is?
- What would be a good name for the woman and what would be a good name for the dog?
- What is one word you would use to describe this story?
- What was your favourite page? Why?
- Have a close look at all the pages, what do you think is being shown in the small boxes in the bottom right corner of each page?
- What are all Lillie Laceby’s dreams about?
- Do you think Lillie Laceby has had a happy life? Why do you think this?
- What are some of the things you need to be happy?
- Lillie Laceby says that ‘in her head she’s only 4 and a half’? What does she mean?
- What do you think might be something difficult about getting older?
- Tell me something nice about getting older?
- Would you like a dog like Butch Aggie? Why/Why not?
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