My KS1 class love these stories, even though they do seem rather dated. Melanie is just slightly naughty, and is always in trouble of one sort or another. There is a patient teacher, a long-suffering janitor, and assorted classmates. The stories are very tame, but children really enjoy hearing them, as they describe their world of crayons, assemblies and playgrounds.
My own Year 1 teacher read these stories to me, and I have just read them to my six-year-old daughter. She loves them, and keeps asking for extra stories to be read.
"The Melanie Brown Stories" is an omnibus edition of all three Melanie Brown short story anthologies by the late (sorry, no new stories possible!) Pamela Oldfield: "Melanie Brown Goes To School", "Melanie Brown Climbs A Tree" and "Melanie Brown And The Jar Of Sweets". There's around thirty or so short stories in total.
Melanie Brown is like a slightly older My Naughty Little Sister. She is five, then six, years old, lives in 1970s England, and goes to the village school. Most of the stories are set in the school, with brief references to home. Melanie Brown loves being the centre of attention, is stubborn, tests the rules all the time, and sometimes is outright naughty simply for the sake of it - and my daughter lapped it all up in breathless anticipation. The misdemeanors are all relatively harmless and usually amusing, such as concealing PE shorts in a drainpipe and causing a waterfall, or using the class cress-growing project as medicine for a game and eating the lot. The children are written in a very believable way that has not dated at all, and there's only a few period references that need explaining, like school television, gym apparatus, why all schools did prayers and hymns in those days etc. There are lots of boy characters as well as girls.
This is a delightful book, and I wish it was still in print. 7+ years for children reading for themselves.
As an early years teacher of many years standing, I have used this book to read to children of ages from 3 to 7 and have never known the stories to fail to hold the children's attention. Although they are a little old fashioned, the escapades of Melanie Brown are really timeless and the children relate to the character totally. There is always a frisson of excitement when I take out the books and children frequently beg me for another story. I have bought many copies over the years to share with other teachers and they are of the same opinion. My only criticism is that there is no story for Easter or some of the other celebrations we have in schools, andy would be delighted if the author were to write some new ones. Failing that, I may just have to write them myself... I love these stories and cannot recommend them highly enough.
my KS1 children may love Horrid Henry, but these stories are guaranteed to have them in silence listening. They are a little dated and the very occasional word may need changing to make it more acceptable depending on circumstances eg "prayers" to "assembly", but they appeal to KS1 because today.s children can still relate to everything in them and how a rather naughty and disobedient little girl learns to deal with school life. Lots of very good lessons in behaviour can be introduced with these stories. I have yet to find a class not entranced by Melanie Brown and only wish there were more stories about her