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Her father is working hard to keep the crumbling family farm in business, and Hannah and her younger brothers and sisters are expected to do everything they can to help. The spirited Hannah doesn't really mind wearing jumble sale clothes, falling in the mud to catch an escaped pig, or even being embarassed in front of her classmates - but she does long to be able to explore her passion for acting and the theatre, which her father thinks is a waste of time.

With help from her best friend Lottie - and from the rest of the family- she sets about transforming an old hen house into a theatre, keeping it secret from her father. But can Hannah's play really win the prize - and what will happen when her dad finds out what they are up to? Helen Peters has drawn on her own childhood on a farm, and her memories of writing and acting out her own plays, to create this lively story with a very convincing rural setting. Peters depicts a cast of strong and believable characters, from Hannah's overworked and under pressure father, to her stroppy year-old sister Martha, who soon proves herself to be a true 'drama queen'.

With a hint of Pamela Brown's The Swish of the Curtain , there is much for aspiring young actors to enjoy here, but this hugely enjoyable story of family, friendship and country life will also have a broad appeal for children at upper primary level. This field is required. See You in the Cosmos. Alex has built his own rocket and he's going to launch it into space with a golden iPod full of Earth sounds. With themes of friendship and family, this is a highly engaging and heartwarming story - a true journey of discovery. Read more about See You in the Cosmos. Aug 21, Lari Don rated it really liked it Shelves: kids-books.

But I realised there was a lot more to the Secret Hen House Theatre when Hannah lost a writing competition in the first few pages because she had submitted a poem with a description of a dead lamb in it. I was hooked after that. There is a love interest too, a subplot which ended surprisingly and very realistically. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and hope the debut author writes more!

Sep 15, Sidonie Ferguson rated it really liked it.


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A cute easy read. A lovely little book that I thoroughly reccomend, took me a few hours in total. There are bits that confused me as details are lacking in terms of the characters ages but eventually you figure it out. I didn't like that the last chapter kind of jumped into the future without really warning you of it. I think it could have ended on the chapter before without loosing anything. Jan 27, Amy Golden Books Girl rated it really liked it. After having this recommended to me, I decided to pick it up and give it a go.

It has the same whimsical, modern classic feel that Natasha Farrant captured in the Bluebell Gadsby series, and it features a large group of sibli After having this recommended to me, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. It has the same whimsical, modern classic feel that Natasha Farrant captured in the Bluebell Gadsby series, and it features a large group of siblings. I worried desperately about the characters till the end as there were so many twists when I thought they were nearing a happy ending, though I did love the one they eventually got.

Feb 19, Katy Noyes rated it it was amazing. This put me in mind of Ballet Shoes, the theatrical element and the children taking responsibility for a family's poor finances, grown-up and capable children. And it could well be just as well-regarded as Streatfeild's classic.

A farming family, Hannah and her siblings are managing without their mother well enough, their father struggling to pay the bills but just about scraping by. Hannah dreams of writing a famous play, which her father sees as a waste of time. But a rise in rent and a local t This put me in mind of Ballet Shoes, the theatrical element and the children taking responsibility for a family's poor finances, grown-up and capable children. But a rise in rent and a local theatrical competition coincide - can Hannah putnon a play to win the prize money and help stop her dad from losing his farm?

At heart, it's a simple plot, but there's actually a lot more depth to the story than that, with a wonderfully realised young love story that I found very realistic, rivalry with a richer student, descriptions of farm life, some amazing detail of Hannah's play and preparation. For of course what is a play without a theatre in which to perform it?

Hannah and her friends must find a venue. Is there somewhere on the farm?

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Hannah proves herself a more at hand capable director, and I adored the siblings and their relationships though Martha I didn't warm to. Hannah and Lottie her best friend are a very likeable pair of heroines and their scheme is one I really invested myself in. Even the side plot where they try to sell some 'valuable' candlesticks goes in interesting directions. I thought this was very intelligent and honest writing for the age group. Easy to read with emotional depth and some great characters that are smart, capable and warm. I look forward to the sequel.

Jun 11, The Styling Librarian rated it it was amazing Shelves: realistic-fiction , kids-books , favorites. Reminded me of the fantastic Penderwicks series with a few snipier negative characters thrown in. I felt like I was drawn into the story immediately, concerned for the family, hopeful for the main character, torn by the dramatic portions, and vindicated when that time came… brilliant story. UK published- hope it is availabe in the US, well worth the read.


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Connection to PYP: integrity, caring, courageous, and so many more… a perfect, perfect read aloud. Most excellent for class discussions. I just loved this book. Jul 28, Mollysreadingcorner.

The Secret Hen House Theatre - Chapter 1 by Nosy Crow - Issuu

Com rated it it was amazing. The Secret Hen House Theatre is about a girl who loves drama and writing plays, but she lives on a farm which needs lots of care and attention. When she finds out her farm is in danger, she comes up with a marvellous but risky plan to save it. This is one of my favourite books because it is quite funny, with really interesting characters and settings and the ending is surprising. The farm is described really well and it creates a great picture in your head.

My brother and I made one just like it! This book would be great for anyone who wants a funny, interesting read and I would recommend this book for people aged years old.


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May 25, Christine Blachford rated it really liked it. This is a really charming story about a determined girl who wants to make a name for herself in the theatre, and put on her own production of a play she's written, as well as keep her family together and save the family farm. It's a big ask for a little girl, but it never seems totally out of the question. I really enjoyed reading this, following the story through its twists and turns, and the misunderstandings that occur along the way. It's hard to describe much more without spoiling anything, b This is a really charming story about a determined girl who wants to make a name for herself in the theatre, and put on her own production of a play she's written, as well as keep her family together and save the family farm.

It's hard to describe much more without spoiling anything, but there are some great characters - heroes and villains - and the scenes are painted in a way that make them very visual, easy to place in your mind. It's a lovely book, both comfortable and uncomfortable in places, but ultimately winding to a great conclusion.

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As I started reading this book, I found the many detailed personal physical decriptions tiresome, deeming them superfluous. But after a while something happened. I changed. Suddenly I realised that those very descriptions was what transported me from myself to Hannah's farm, to the kids' lively interaction in the classroom, to the grassy fields, to the shed theatre with it's commotion.

And suddenly, I found myself sitting next to As I started reading this book, I found the many detailed personal physical decriptions tiresome, deeming them superfluous. And suddenly, I found myself sitting next to Hannah watching her unsuccessfully supressing a laugh, and this made me giggle too.

What started for me with an impatient sigh, ended with a big happy smile. Now I've bought the sequel too. Sep 28, Donna rated it it was amazing.

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A sweet and charming tale about hardship, bravery, overcoming the odds, love, rivalry and friendship. This story made me smile, cry and laugh with its pure simplicity of a girl coming of age and dealing with life's struggles as she is the eldest child of the family and feels she has to take the place of her mother after she has died. Buy It Now. Add to cart.

The Secret Hen House Theatre – Helen Peters. Reviewed by dancingholl22 (11)

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