Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Curse, Catch Me If You Can and Step By Wicked Step

As today is our last meeting for this semester, i would like you to look at the 3 novels prescribed for form 5 students. Please compare and contrast the values of these 3 novels.


  1. 1)The Physical Appearance

    The physical appearance of the ‘The Curse’ itself is small and pretty thick. Consisting of 234 pages, the novel seems to be intimidating than the other two. When we flip through the pages, the wordings are typed using rather large fonts. The front cover of the novel which shows only a white rose smeared with blood did not provide any clues regarding the story inside. At the back side of the novel, the readers are provided with a short synopsis about the whole story. The information provided there are just nice for the students to have some idea on the story but not revealing the whole story.

    The physical appearance of ‘Catch Us if You Can’ is the nicest among the three novels and quite nice. It is small and not so thick. The cover page is interesting and have images of one boy named Rory and his Granda. The font used in the cover page also very catchy as it can surely attract students’ attention to pick up this book and start reading it. It is blue in colour so it was easy to differentiate this novel with the other two. Consisting of 161 pages, this novel is very easy to read since the font used is quite appropriate for Form five students; not too big and not too small. The blurb provided at the back page of this novel is just nice for reader to know what is happening in this novel.

    The physical appearance of ‘Step by Wicked Step’ in comparison with Te Curse and Catch Us if You Can, is quite childish for Form five students. The illustration on the cover page in not as interesting as the other two novels maybe because of the cartoon illustration instead of using real people. It looks like children’s novel rather that young adult’s novel. Consisting of 131 pages, this is the thinnest novel among the other two. The blurb provided at the back page of this novel is the same with the other two where it provides a little information to the reader and let them have some idea in reading this novel.

    Nurul Dinie Alias, Adiba Zailan, Dyg Nurul Ezzarina, Vikneswary Thiagarjan, Choong Yar Hui.

  2. Step by Wicked Step
    uses english culture as base with simple english. The content of the novel is about family where the issue is everyone in the family have famil issues to be deal with. The themes of this novel are family reationship, coping with changes, dealing with divorce and separation of parents, being happy and dealing with adversities.

    Catch Us f You Can uses Malaysian culture and simple and understandable English. the content of the novel is about family relationship and bond must be appreciated and maintained. the issues are truth is vital component in life and appearances may not be what they seem. While the themes are family and relationships, growingup, social and civil responsibilities and social bias.

    The Curse is a novel using Malaysian culture too with simple and understandable English for children.the content of the story is about superstitious and mystery. the issu in the novel is about family issues and the themes are love, foriveness, violence against women, beliefe in supernatural and fear of the unknown.

    We did this comparison in table form but cannot post in here, so i typed it out. Thank you Pn. Ju....

    Siti Awatif - Laila Khalida - Nurul Nadiya - Amir Suad Mal Jelani - Kumareswaran

  3. There are three novels for the higher secondary school students. They are :
    1. “The Curse” by Lee Su Ann
    2. “Catch Us if You Can” by Catharine MacPhill
    3. “Step by Wicked Step” by Anne Fine

    Cover Page:

    Different students might be attracted to different novels. “The Curse” with a more abstract look might probably draws the female students towards reading it. “Catch Us if You Can” might attract more male students as it portrays the two main characters in the with a surrounding of crime. “Step by Wicked Step” might not attract as much attention toward it as it is illustrated for children books.

    Physical Appearance

    The Curse looks is a bit thicker but smaller than the other two novels. But overall, the tree novels can be considered acceptable for the higher secondary school students.

    Pages :
    o The Curse : 234 pages

    o Catch Us if You Can : 161 pages

    o Step by Wicked Step : 131 pages

    From this three novels, “The Curse” is definitely the most intimidating for students compared to the other two novels.

    Blurbs :

    The curse provides more information that will be able to attract the student to pick up the novel. For example, the blurb for “The Curse” is written in a suspenseful and thrilling way. It is full with mystery that would make the students feel curious enough to pick it up and read it. But the blurbs for the other two novels are written in a simple statement that is more of a statement of what the book will bring. For example, “Catch Us if You Can” might not cause as much suspense or thrilling as “The Curse”. It is only written about a boy with his Granda and that they are running away.

    Members :
    Nik Musaini Nik Mustapha, Fatin Nabila bt Jasni, Chong Wei Sam, & Gan Shiau Yin

  4. Step By Wicked Step by Anne Fine

    There are five different stories in the novel Step by wicked step by Anne Fine. The stories are The Bluebird of Happiness ( Colin’s story ), A tale of Three Stepmothers ( Ralph’s story ) , Green Pyjamas ( Claudia ‘s story ), The Pains in my Life ( Pixie’s story ) , Dumpa’s the problem ( Robbo’s story). Eventhough the story are different and also told by different character; the issues discussed is the same. The issue is focussed on the child’s family problem. For example, in the Blue bird of happiness by Colin, he tells a story about how Colin and his immature mother left his father when he was a few weeks’ old. In the Ralph story, the three stepmothers, he tells about his complicated family. He has three stepmother and many steps family members. Green pyjama by Claudia is about her family problem. Her parents’ divorce and his dad find a girlfriend, Stella. She has the feeling of disloyalty towards he mother whenever she enjoys a good time with both her father and his girlfriend. Even though Stella really hard to make Claudia accepts her, however Claudia still being ignored. The pains in my life is a story from Pixie, she has to deal with her two annoying stepsisters and her selfish father who pretends that he doesn’t notice the difficulty that she faced. The last story is Robbo’s story about Dumpa’s the problem. Dumpa is his stepbrother. Robbo and his sister’s Callie always think that the birth of Dumpa caused many problems between them and their stepfather, Roy.

    Family relationship
    Every stories that have been told in the novel Step by wicked steps is related to family relationship for example Colin tells a story about his immature mother, Ralph’s story about his three stepmothers, Claudia tells story about her father and his girlfriend, Pixie tells story about her annoying stepsister and selfish father and Robbo about his steps father and step brother.

    Moral values
    we need to be brave when facing adversities
    Don’t judge someone without knowing all the facts.
    Adult or parents need to be more considerate in making decision as it would affect the lives of their children.



    School pupil
    sports-mad especially football

    School pupil
    occasionally likes to intercept impolitely during a conversation

    School pupil
    longs to be reunited with his stepdad,

    did not get along well with her stepmother at the beginning

    a good reader, selfish

    Richard Clayton Harwick
    Owner of Old Harwick Hall,
     lost his father at a very young age.
    His mother remarries the priest, Reverend Coldstone.
    When he inherits Old Harwick Hall, he has lost his three closest members of the family.

    Rev. Coldstone

    Richard’s wicked stepfather,
     strict
     cold-hearted

    Mr. Plumley

    A staff of the school who accompanies the children to Old Harwick Hall

    Miss O’ Dell

    The school teacher who picks five of the children on a trip after a quick glance at her list.

    Mr. Digby
    Gardener at the Harwick’s household

    Maid at the Harwick’s household

    Richard Clayton Harwick’s sister.

    Nik Musaini Nik Mustapha, Fatin Nabila bt Jasni, Chong Wei Sam, & Gan Shiau Yin

  5. The curse by Lee Su Ann


    Focused on family issues, the novel is bout Azreen that have to return home because the death of her sister, Madhuri. At her hometown, she has to face her bad tempered father, her sick mother, and also has to solve the mystery about her sister’s death. At the end of the story, all of the mysteries is solved but Azreen lost her parents and she go back to London.


    1)Caring- Madhuri shield Azreen from being punished by their father.
    2)Diligence- Azreen diligently repairs the trampled beds of lady’s finger outside the Old Lady’s house.
    3)Concern- Mohd Asraf advice Azreen not to tell about Madhuri’s death to her sick mother who thinks that Madhuri is still alive.


    1)Love- forbidden love between Madhuri and Mohd Asraf; even if Madhuri is already married, but she secretly still have love affair with Mohd Asraf.

    2)Forgiveness- Azreen forgive her father even if after she knows that her father is the one who killed Madhuri.

    3)Loyalty- Azreen take blame for the bull escape to come to Mohd Asraf defense. She tells them not to blame people without any prove.


    - Is the Main character of the novel
    - Studies in England,UK
    - Don’t have a good relationship with her father due to her defiant behavior
    -Tomboyish outlook
    - An independent and outspoken girl
    -A helpful friend. (She claims for letting the Bull escape in order to save Mohd Asraf from being blame)
    - Caring for her sick mother and the old lady.

    - Beautiful and polite l
    - A submissive wife and a daughter
    - Religious and good at reciting Quranic verses
    -Caring especially towards Azreen
    -Like to share story with her sister (Azreen)

    -A dedicated and popular teacher in a local school because of his quite handsome look.
    -Independent since young
    -Good friend with Azreen; he and Azreen has befriend since they were in high school.
    - A caring grandson who is concern about his grandmother’s health.
    - In love with Madhuri
    - Plan to take Madhuri to KL when he get a permanent job as a teacher there.

    Nik Musaini Nik Mustapha, Fatin Nabila bt Jasni, Chong Wei Sam, & Gan Shiau Yin

  6. Catch Us if You Can


    The novel is about love between generations. It shows the love between a grandfather and a young boy who do not want to be separated. This novel points out that young adults may face challenges of growing up and learning about responsibility. It is portray in the character called Rory who is eleven years old. Instead of enjoying being a school boy and , he takes the responsibility of taking care of Granda. They don’t want to be separated and this is when Rory plans an escape. He wants to take Granda away from Rachnadar.


    The title of the novel represents the theme of the story.
    Catch: To get hold of and stop someone you have been chasing from getting away; to indicate that both Rory and Granda are escaping.
    Us: Used by the person speaking or writing to refer to himself or herself and one or more other people (the two of us – Rory and Granda)
    If- Used for emphasizing that something is not as possible as one thinks it to be
    You-Used for referring to the person or people that you are talking to
    Can-Have the ability or means to do something

    Moral Value:

    Family and relationships: Granda has looked after Rory ever since his father walked out of their life. Now, Rory feels that he has the responsibility to look after Granda who is getting older day by day.

    Major characters

    Rory’s grandfather. He is also known as Mister McIntosh. He has a tendency to forget what he is doing. He loves his grandson and cannot bear the thought of being separated from him. He doesn’t like Rory mentions about his father. He is hurt by his son’s departure from the family and after his daughter-in-law’s death. He is dedicated to take care of Rory.

    He is a 11-year-old young boy, still in school who wants to take care of his grandfather. He shows determination and courage in palnning an escape to save his grandfather away from Rachnadar. He wishes to find his own father.

    Minor Characters

    Val Jessup
    She is a social worker who is responsible for Rory’s well being. She arranges for Rory to stay at the children’s home in Castle Street.

    Mrs Foley
    She is Rory’s teacher. She shows sympathy towards Rory’s situation where he needs to take care of his grandfather. She is very concerned about Rory and Granda when he is admitted into the hospital. She realises that Rory should not be placed in the children’s home.

    Darren is Rory’s best friend in school who helps him to stay in the mother’s caravan when Granda is taken away from Rachnadar.

    Jeff McIntosh
    He is Rory’s father. He comes back home to be with his father and son when he sees them on television.

    Sammy, Ruby and Tyrone
    The family that offers help to Rory and Granda when the police are coming after them.

    Rab and his friends
    They offer help to Rory and Granda and help them meet with Rory’s father in Liverpool.

    Nik Musaini Nik Mustapha, Fatin Nabila bt Jasni, Chong Wei Sam, & Gan Shiau Yin


    There are three new novels for the Form 5 students now, namely, Catch us If You Can by Catherine McPhail, Step by Wicked Step by Anne Fine, and The Curse by Lee Su Ann. There are similarities and differences in all there novels. We’ll go through each similarity and difference below.
    Firstly, the three novels have similarities and differences in the physical form.
    If we look at the front page, Catch Us If you Can is very reader friendly, colorful, and appealing, as well as informative, Right at the front page, you have the name of the characters that are going to be dominant in the novel, as well as an illustration of how these characters would appear physically. Step By Wicked Step has a very mysterious front page, that’s somehow very colorful too. It is appealing to the readers, but it gives readers no clue as to what the story will be about. The Curse, is the only novel in the Form 5 syllabus with a somber front cover. It gives a hint to the story, that it will be a story about murder, but the colors used a very boring and it’s not very appealing.
    All the three novels differ in their thickness. The Curse has 234 pages, while Step by Wicked Step has 131 pages, while Catch us If you Can has 161 pages. So its safe to say that among the three, The Curse is the thickest novel. However, all three novels in the new cycle are definitely way more thicker than the old cycle.
    All three novels use almost the same font of writing, and in all three novels, there are no illustrations inside the novel. Size wise, all three novels are almost the same in their size. Perhaps, Catch Us If You Can is slightly a bit taller than the other two, but still, they have almost the same height. All three novels have good summaries at the back of the novel, telling roughly about the plot of the story. In these ways, physically, all the three novels share the same trait.


    Secondly, the three novels have certain similarities and many differences in the literary elements.
    Firstly, we’ll take a look at the culture portrayed by all three novels. The Curse portrays traditional malay culture from the Malaysian background. It only shows very little of London, and almost the whole novel concentrates on the Malaysian village culture. The story can even be said to briefly touch on The Mahsuri legend which is very famous and well known to Malaysians. Meanwhile, Catch Us if You Can and Step by Wicked Step shows us the culture of English and American people, especially step by Wicked step, where there are remarriages, and divorces all over the book. Thus, the only novel that talks about local culture is The Curse. But, if we look at it from a different viewpoint, or angle, The Curse is a ver gory story, filled with murders and lives of people who are older and living a domestic life, while Step by Wicked Step and Catch Us If You Can are both talking about lives of teenage children. In that way, these two novels appeals more toward Form 5 students.
    Step By Wicked step, in it’s plot, explores the lives of children who go through divorces and step parents, while Catch Us if You Can talk about the lives of children in orphanages at one stage, and talks about children who grow up with their grandparents. Both the novels look at the complexity of lives for teenagers and children who are not in the “normal” kind of families, and these are more suitable themes for students at that age to explore.
    The languages used in all three novels are simple, easy to understand and direct to the point. The Curse, perhaps has a bit of Malay language to it, but it is not too difficult to understand.
    The question of whether the novel is bias in anyway, is not very easy to answer. However, after some discussion, we have agreed that The Curse is bias in a certain way, because it only concentrates on the Malay culture and not any other culture. If the students were to do Catch Us if You Can and Step By Wicked Step, they would all start at scratch, with no one having prior knowledge about the culture portrayed. But if they were to do The Curse, the Malay students would have some sort of prior knowledge to the novel, which other students may not have.
    Now, lets look at the plot of the novels. Catch Us if You can has an episodic plot, where each place that Rory and his Granda run to is like an episode. This is the same with Step By Wicked Step, whereby each of the children’s story is episodic. However, The Curse has a very twisted plot, and it goes back to the past and comes back to the future simultaneously. All three novels definitely don’t have a traditional plot.


    Character wise, Catch us If you Can and Step By Wicked Step has similarities of how the characters are introduced. I shall explain this with examples. In Catch Us If You Can, at everyplace that Rory and his Granda runs to, they meet new characters. But the plot revolves mainly around Granda and Rory. The characters assist in helping the story to progress. It’s the same with Step By Wicked Step, where the story revolves around the five main characters, and as each of them tell their story, we see the other characters coming to assist these five characters. In The Curse, however, most of the characters are introduced at one go in certain chapters. Some characters are introduced without any background, and we only realize their identity at the end of the novel. This might be an interesting way to keep the readers intrigued with the story. However, the characters in The Curse are quite a number, and they are involved in the story physically, in a way where the readers can form an opinion on them. It is the same with Catch us If You Can. But, in Step by Wicked step, we get to see the minor characters through the eyes of the children who are narrating the story..

    The Curse

    Salleh Abdullah
    Puan Normala
    Datuk Zulkifli
    Datin Shariffah
    Old lady
    Puan Fathihah
    Haji Ghani
    Azreen’s mother
    Madhuri’s mother
    Asraf’s Grandmother

    Step By Wicked Step

    Richard Clayton Harwick

    Richard’s mother (Lilith)
    Richard’s sister ( Charllote )
    Mr Coldstone

    Claudia’s father
    Claudia’s mother
    Claudia’s stepmother ( Stella)

    Collin’s mother
    Collin’s stepfather

    Ralph’s mother
    Ralph’s father
    Ralph’s stepmother’s

    Robbo’s step father
    Robbo’s mother
    Robbo’s sister ( Callie)

    Pixie’s father
    Pixie’s step mpther( Lucy)
    Pixie’s step sisters ( Hetty and Sophie )

    Mr Plumly

    Catch Us If You Can

    Dr Nicol
    Mrs Foley
    Darren’s mother
    Rory’s father


    All the three novels tackle various themes. The Curse tackles themes abot love, parental love, trust, acceptance,and so on. Step By Wicked Step tackles themes such as step parents, acceptance, family complexities, love and so on. Catch Us if You Can tackles issues such as love, bravery, doing what is right, trust and so on. All three novels tackles on love and family relationships. It also tackles on parental issues. The three novels has moral values that are almost similar, which is appreciating our parens, learning to love and accept people around us and so on.
    In conclusion, the three novels has similarities and differences. In the end of the day, how the teacher teaches the novel will determine the student’s understanding of the novel.

    1. Puan Ju, i forgot, we have one more member, Abdul SALAM MOHD RABI

  11. The Literary Aspects
    The Curse
    1. Cultural
    In the novel the curse, the background was set in local setting which is Langkawi, Malaysia. Personally, I think that this cultural background is easier to relate for the students and it is appropriate for the students. Some of the information stated in the novel, such as the ritual for remedial purposes may not be culturally familiar for the students, however, it is still relevant.
    2. Language
    In terms of language of the novel, it is written using simple English. Credit to its background, it is much easier to understand. There are not much complicated words in the writings. Since this novel is used in Pahang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, the language is appropriate for the students understanding.
    3. Important moral values.
    The moral values that I can learn from the novel ‘The Curse’ is to be responsible for your actions. We should be accountable of the effects for our actions. For example, Azreen repairs the trampled bled of vegetables for the Old Lady. She also tries to apologies by bringing a basket of fresh vegetables and a packet of seeds. We should also be grateful towards others. In the novel, Azreen is grateful to the Old Lady for offering her home as refuge whenever she has a fight with her parents. She is grateful for all the advices that the Old Lady had given to her, especially on how to forgive and how to be feminine. Other than that, we should be generous towards the others. For instance, Datin Sharifah and her husband who are very rich are generous, help to sponsor Azreen in her studies to England. They also bought a wheelchair for her mother so that she can go around easily. Besides, we should be brave as Azreen is brave enough to take the dare by her classmate to knock at the Old Lady’s door. We should show concern towards others. For example, Azreen and Siti show concern for Nek who is sick. Siti helps to take care of her and Azreen persuades the Old Lady to find a cure for her.

    1. by

      Nurul Dinie Alias, Adiba Zailan, Dyg Nurul Ezzarina, Vikneswary Thiagarjan, Choong Yar Hui

  12. 4. Concept
    The novel features some mystical aspects in Malay culture like the bomoh’s chants. It also portrays the typical Malay culture in its setting, gossiping social setting. Despite all this the main concept of this novel is family ties. Although Azreen was not treated fairly by her father, she still feels that it is her responsibility look after her mom and dad. Besides that, the is another concept also in this novel regarding feminism. Woman are portrays as a weak gender. They are not free to do what they want. For example , Azreen’s sister loved a man on her choice but then she was forced to get married with the choice of her elders.

    5. Plot
    This story consists of 12 chapters all together. At the first chapter the rising action take splace in a full suspense. As we gradually read the amount of suspense how Azreen’s sister died. The climax of the story falls at chapter 10 where the secret of Madhuri’s death gets revealed. Finally for the resolution part will be chapter 11 and 12. Where the Azureen confronts the murderer and Azreen was told that Madhuri is not her real sister.

    6. Theme
    There are few themes in this novel, but I would like to mention some interesting one
    • Gender stereotyping
    Through the novel, gender stereotyping is portrayed through how females should behave. This can be seen especially through Azreen. For example, Azreen’s school friends start to cast suspicious eyes towards her when she behaves unlady-like. She plays hockey with the boys and even “laughs like a bunch of hyenas” with them. To them, as a woman, Azreen is not expected to be tomboyish and hangs too closely with boys.
    • Love
    Parental Love:
    • Both Saleh Abdullah and his wife love Madhuri dearly like their own biological child.
    • Azreen’s inner conflict to garner her father’s love and affection. She always perceives the father as having greater love towards her sister, Madhuri.

    Forbidden Love:
    • Mohd. Asraf and Madhuri secretly loves each other that eventually led to Madhuri’s death.

    Unrequited Love:
    • Azreen had a crush on Mohd. Asraf during school days.

    1. by

      Nurul Dinie Alias, Adiba Zailan, Dyg Nurul Ezzarina, Vikneswary Thiagarjan, Choong Yar Hui

  13. Catch us if you can
    1. Language
    The first criteria that we are going to look at in analyzing the novel Catch Us If You Can is the language used by the author. Under this criterion, there are four things that we are going to look at, which is the tone of the language, the word – choice used in the text, imagery and also grammar. We figured that the tone of this novel is humorous and full with the element of surprise; even though the story is sad. Most of the word chosen in this novel also reflects the culture of the setting in the story. Examples of the word chosen that reflects the culture in this story are daft, bonny and wee. The imagery of this story is also vivid; since it’s written in a personal experience style. The sentences in this novel are also written in past tense.
    2. Culture
    The next criterion is the culture. Catch Us If You Can is a story with a background of a western culture. We are certain that the culture is western since the name of the characters are names of English men; Rory, Darren, Granda. Another culture that we have found in this novel is the culture of sending old folks to old folks home. This is a very taboo thing in our culture, but for the western, it is a very common issue; in fact it is not an issue at all.
    3. Concept
    The third criterion is the concept of the novel. Generally, the concept of this novel is Love of a grandson towards his grandfather. Throughout this novel, the main issue of the novel is for Rory to maintain to be with his grandfather. This leads us to the next criterion which is the moral values in this story. Apparently there are many positive moral values that the readers can identify in this novel like responsibility, determination and strong family bond relationship.
    4. Plot and character
    For the plot of the story, generally this novel has 33 chapters. It started by revealing the main characters; Granda and Rory, and also the main issue in this story. All of these were revealed as early as in the exposition stage. For the developing events, Rory has been expressing his love towards his grandfather throughout the rising action. This stage also revolves around on how Granda want to take care of Rory, despite of other characters were introduced in this stage as well. Characters introduced are both who wants to help them and want to bring them apart from each other. For the climax, this story took its’ hit when Rory thought that his Granda is dead when he actually did not, and for the falling action, his grandfather was admitted in the hospital and Rory was sent to his grandfathers’ house. For the resolution, the family finally united; not only Rory and Granda, but also Rory’s father.
    5. Theme
    Finally, the theme of this novel is basically about love between a grandson towards his grandfather. It is a good message to be convey to the young adult learners, so that at their age they will realized that these kind of love still exists.

    1. by

      Nurul Dinie Alias, Adiba Zailan, Dyg Nurul Ezzarina, Vikneswary Thiagarjan, Choong Yar Hui

  14. Physical Aspect

    Front page

     Simple but not so attractive.

     Title is related to the picture. The word ‘step’ may confuse the students. They might think the ‘step’ means movement or action instead of ‘stepmother’.

     Students might not get the meaning of the picture or guess what the story is about (a person who is walking down the stairs) if they do not read the story.

     Once they read the story, they will know the symbol or significant of the picture.


     Number of page : 131 pages
     Length:
    o Suitable for Form 5 students.
    o The length is not too long or too short for the target readers.


     Suitable font and size
    o Font : Palatino Roman
    o Size : 12
    o Spacing : 15pt
     Clear and easy to read

    Font Size

    The font used is a bit small. The readers must focus to the reading carefully since the font is small and it is closely arranged with one another.


    The length is quite suitable for form five students. For me, it is not really thick or thin. Since this book brings out quite heavy issue, I think the length is suitable to describe all the issues in it.

    Size of the book

    The size of the book is suitable too where is not too big and heavy to be carried. Students can always carried this anywhere and everywhere they like.


    The space between words is not really suitable where the size of each word is big, so the space between each word looks a bit narrow. It makes it become difficult to be read.

    Theme Font

    The theme font is suitable although the size is small. The round shapes of its font makes become clear the eyes of the readers. And when it comes to the letter, this book uses italic style to differentiate it from the others.


    The blurb is short and sweet. It uses simple words and yet it is easy to be understood. It does not tell everything, so it makes the readers become anxious to know the whole story.

    Front page

    The front is a bit confusing. For the first time I saw it, I thought that this book is a horror book. The illustration of the front page, in which it only show a picture of a pair of leg makes me think of a horror story. But if we read the book, we know why this illustration is being used where it is actually related to one of the characters in the story.


    The title is suitable where it actually give a hint to the readers on what the story all about. The word “step” and “wicked” normally give the interpretation of how wicked the step parent can be, but in this story it has its own moral values that not every step parents are bad.

    Literary Aspect

    Concept / Issues

     Issues:
    o Family love
    o Patience is a virtue
    o Never give up
    o Being happy
    o How to survive in our daily life
    o Adaption to new environment is important

     Most of the issues are related to the students especially when they are at their young adult stage.

     These issues may help them in their personal growth.
    o Always be patient when doing something. Never easily get angry.
    o Learn to adapt and live in a new environment especially when they are out of their hometown to study or work.


     Words / Vocabulary:
    o The vocabs used are suitable for the target readers. Only a few low frequency words such as rivulet, turret, snigger, ruefully, silhouette, cripes, and etc.
    o The words are considered as suitable for intermediate to high level of proficiency students.
    o As for low level of proficiency students, they might face difficulties in understanding the meaning of some words because they are lack of vocabulary.
     Sentences:
    o Simple and straight forward sentences used in the story.
    o Easier for intermediate to high level of proficiency students to comprehend the story.
    o Maybe some of the low level of proficiency students will face challenges in understanding some sentences which full of unusual vocabs.


     More to western culture.
     If focus on the main issue which is about step-parents, it happens all around the world regardless of race, place, or culture.

  15. Literary elements

     Plot:
    o Written in 7 chapters.
    o First 2 chapters are without titles while from the third to the seventh chapter have its own titles which consist of the stories of 5 characters for each chapter.
    o The plot is shown clearly as each chapter represents a character’s story.
     Themes:
    o Most of the themes in this story are useful and teach the students a lot in coping with this kind of situation.
    o However, in my personal opinion, I think the issue here is too sensitive and too heavy for Form 5 students. Not all are mature at this age. We have to consider that too.
    o In a way, it is good to expose the students with this issue. At least they are prepared to cope with this kind of situation.
    o Separation or divorce is the main issue in this story. It advices the readers to love their step-parents because not all of the step-parents are bad as shown in the movie.
    o So, the students need to be good enough in dealing with this situation. They have to learn how to cope with changes. (Especially for those who really face this problem)
    o Students will learn to be braved and patient when they face their step-parents because in our culture, we tend to reject the appearance of step-parents.
    o This story also teaches the readers to take action wisely. Do not regret afterwards.

    Characters and characteristics

    1) Claudia
    Claudia is a very kind-hearted and gentle little girl. The evidence is in page 23 “Collin pretend that she wasn’t speaking to him, but Claudia openly wiped away her tears.” For the first time she listen to Pixie’s reading the diary of Richard Clayton Harwick, she felt touched and tears fall down her cheeks. Claudia is also a loyal and grateful daughter to her mother too. Actually at first she refused to accept Stella, the stepmother in her life. She does not want the mother to feel left out, so she just ignoring the new step mother just not to hurt the mother’s feeling. This can be seen in page 33 where it stated that “to try to stop her looking like that, I’d rush across so fast I’d trip on the rug…” She also missed her dad so much, but she pretends that she was not missing him at all. Claudia is a rational girl too where she is not being judge mental towards Stella. After the party, she becomes more confident with the fact that actually Stella is a good person. In page 47, she even wears the green pajamas given by Stella to show that she is now accepting Stella in her life. This is a proof of how Claudia is very sensible and rational in her own point of view.

    2) Collin
    Just like Claudia, Collin is also a grateful and loving child. He really loved and missed his stepfather after his parent separation. Actually the father is merely his step father, but Collin really appreciated him and accepts him as his real father. Collin is a hopeful person too. In page 53 “when’s dad coming? When will he be here?” is a proof of he always ask the mother when will the father going back home. He really wishes for that where every night we would imagine that his father would come back to meet him and they were talking with each other just like before. Collin is also very creative minded .Actually he is hiding her father’s tobacco tin inside his small boots and every night, he would take the tobacco tin out and put it under his pillow. This can be seen in page 56 where he said that “… each night I took the tobacco tin out of the toe of my boot, where I keep it hidden…. I’d hum our favourite song..”. In his imagination, he will be thinking that the father is coming back to him soon.

  16. 3) Ralph
    Ralph is rather a tolerant person. Compare to the others he could be the most stressful person since he had three stepmothers and lots of steps sibling. But he still can accept it well. In page 64 it said that “I used to get it wrong a lot…”. This shows to us that even though sometime it is hard for him to decide where he should go after the class, he still accepts it as his routine. His mother is also married to another person, but Ralph accepts this positively. Ralph is also a responsible child too. This can be seen in page 78 “… where I took the chance to sneak away and ring Dad.” In which he is calling his dad to inform where he is right now so that his Dad won’t be worried about him and Flora.

    4) Pixie
    Pixie is a confident little girl. In the first part of the story there is a proof of her confidences when she said “ Give it to me. I’m brilliant at reading.” ( page 14). She volunteers herself to read the diary for her friends when everybody is still silent. Pixie is also full of jealous too. She hate and envy her step sister, Hetty where she thought that Hetty is everyone sweet heart. We can see this in page 85 where it stated that “… I hate the way she cocks her head on one side and fiddles with her . I hate the way she sniffs…” here, we can conclude that everything done by Hetty is not being approved by Pixie as she is envy of her. We can she how Pixie is very cunning person where in page 101 she tried to frighten Hetty out of her wit. However at the end of her story, we can see that Pixie is actually a rational person too. After the fighting, she become more mature and tolerated with Lucy’s family. She knows that she needs to accept the fact that her father is married to another person even though it is hurt for her to accept the truth.
    5) Robbo

    Robbo can be described as a brave boy. At page 8, it clearly stated that “But, as if Robbo had cast the spell of his own courage on them, they all crept after him into the tiny room”. This had proof to us that he is not afraid to approach the scary room at Old Harwick Hall. Robbo is an athletic boy and he is crazy about soccer. Other than that, he is an easy going type of person too. In page 125,we can see that he didn’t mind going to his father new house when the mother is on the vacation with his step father .After all the problem he been gone through with family, he easily realizes that everything will be alright someday.

    Moral values

    1) Adult or parents should consider the children before taking any decision.
    In this story, we can see how chaos can be when parent simply making their decision. Parent should not be selfish and should think twice in every action that they wanted to do so that everyone in the family, especially the children are satisfied with the decision. When everyone is satisfied, then only we could lively happily together.
    2) Never judge the book (people) by its cover.
    No matter how we hate someone, we should not judge him or her from the out sided look. Even though we are dealing with our enemies or the person that we hate the most, we should not be judge mental toward them. We should know them first; try to give them chance to show who the war before we judge them.
    3) Appreciate things that you have around you

    As human, we must appreciate what we are still having now. Sometime, we tend to be ungrateful with what we already have in life. Sometime we take our love one for granted. We should be more empathy with other people too. We should learn and try to be in their shoes and then only we will appreciate what life is all about.

    4) We must never give up and be brave when facing difficulties.
    Sometimes life might knock us down. We might feel that we could not take it anymore. No matter how it will be, we should stand up, dress up and show up ourselves to face it on our own. Running away from problems is not the best solution.Thus we should take it as challenge and bravely face it.

    This is for novel, 'Step by Wicked Step'

  17. This is for "The Curse"

    Physical Aspect

    Font size

    Big and clear for reading.

    Number of pages

    234 pages


    The length is the normal length of a novel. But it is a bit long for students who are reluctant readers or those who are not into reading.

    Size of the book



    It is too near between the words. It should be more spaces but it will use more papers. It is also will make the novel longer. So, we think that it is suitable for Form 5 students and it is teachers job to encourage students to read the whole novel. It helps them better in answering questions in examinations

    Theme font

    Theme font of this book is suitable because the shape is round shape and it is easy to read and it is not crowded. It is comprehensible.


    The blurb or synopsis of the story at the back of the book does give the readers the enthusiasm to read the book because it gives hints on what is happening to Madhuri and it will excite the students to know the ending of the story.

    Front page

    The front page of the novel does portray what will happen in the novel and it relates to the story. The students can assume there is blood involved in the story and it contaminates the rose.


    The title itself reflects the story. It might not be the exact one but at least the students can predict that there is something bad happening in the novel.

  18. Literary Aspects
    Concept Issues (Moral Values)
    In this novel, the issues, the themes and the values that the author wants to convey are very deep and thick. The themes are about love, forgiveness, jealousy, prejudice, irrationally and superstitious. The theme of love, we can see through how Saleh and his wife are willing to take Madhuri when she was a baby. They found her alone in the paddy field. The example is “All they cared was to keep the baby as their own. And they had loved her like their own.” (pg. 224). Another example is Datuk Zulkifli and Datin Sharifah, they treated Azreen like their own daughter. They gave her their loves and education.
    We can see in this line, “In fact, they treated the girl very much like their own daughter.” (pg. 27). We also can see the theme of jealousy when Azreen was jealous towards Madhuri. It is because she thought that her parents were bias and love Madhuri more than her. These are the proves, “She could not stand it when her parents and friends compared her to her sister. No matter what she did, no matter how hard she tried, she could never match up to Madhuri.” (pg. 8) and “It was that particular sentence that her mother had uttered in her frustration…She was not Madhuri. She was different. Why couldn’t they accept that? It was always Madhuri this, Madhuri that.” (pg. 107).
    Last but not least, we think, the most important thing in this novel is the theme of forgiveness. It is actually between Azreen and her father, Saleh. This is important because both of them did not really communicate with each other. But we always need to remember that, in Malay proverbs, “Ibarat air yang dicincang takkan putus”. We can see this theme when the old lady advised Azreen to forgive and forget. For example, “Once you’ve forgiven – sincerely forgiven – the weight is lifted from your chest, and you’re finally free.” (pg. 161)

    In this novel, as we read and analyse it, we can say that the language in terms of sentences level, it is simple sentences. There are also many compound sentences but still comprehensible. For rural area students, the teachers need to really play their roles in the classroom in helping students using scaffolding techniques. In terms of words, there are a few difficult words such as agony (pg.35), bookish (pg.36), flickered (pg.39), silhouette (pg.149), squinted (pg. 165) and many more. But as the teachers help the students, the students themselves need to help themselves in understanding the story. They can use dictionary to search for the difficult words and also they can guess the meanings depend on the context.

  19. Culture
    In this novel, it is actually bias to one culture only but in our opinion, the culture in this novel is suitable for all the cultures in Malaysia setting. This is because we are in multiracial society. So, we think that all races can accept this novel and the story because they are also practised this kind of culture. But for sensitivity aspects, the ministry needs to evaluate again the text so that the bias issue will not be raised.

    Literary Elements
    For literary elements in this novel, we can discuss in terms of plot, characters and characteristics, setting and also the moral values or the message of the story. The plot of the story is very interesting but it is also a bit slow and draggy. But still the five elements of plot are still can be traced, the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action and last but not least the resolution or denouement. Teachers can teach students the plot to introduce the novel to the students. At least the students can get the gist of the story and the flow of the story.
    The characteristics in this novel, there are only a few significant characters which are Azreen, Madhuri, Saleh and last but not least is the old lady. We say that these four characters are significant because they are related in terms of developing their characters. The students also can learn from the characters and they can relate the characters’ characteristics into their own attitudes, personality and behaviours. They can learn a lot from the characters. The characters show the jealousy, prejudice, forgiveness issues and many more. The characters element, we can relate it to the issues, themes, values and the message of the story. So, the teachers need to know how to relate the issues involved in the story to the characters in the story especially the main characters.
    Last but not least is the setting of the story. The story was set in London and Langkawi. The setting in London was not really mentioned but the story sets in Langkawi all through the story. So, the students can imagine or at least have been to Langkawi once or they can look at the pictures shown by the teachers. So, they can imagine the setting in the story. But in our opinion, the most important setting in this novel is at the rubber estate. This is because it was where Madhuri was killed by her adopted father, Saleh Abdullah. So, at least the students can relate and imagine the setting in their mind as they read the novel. So, for us, this is the strength of the novel which is the setting.

  20. This is for novel, "Catch us if you can"

    Catch Us If You Can


    The language used is suitable for intermediate to advance students in form 5. For low proficiency students, maybe the teacher should do a story-telling seems the story is quite long and has some Scottish and old UK words infusion. For us the language used is simple and humorous sometimes. E.g.: It was very difficult not to notice that Mrs. Foley also had a moustache. A thin line of dark hair just above her lip. She was one hairy woman. (Chapter 2)

    The language used shows the element of deep feelings too, how Rory and Granda love each other. For example:
    i) My Granda shook his head. “I’m a lucky man, Rory. A lucky, lucky man.” He took a step closer and touched my cheek. (Chapter 14)
    ii) I wanted to tell him that I would do anything so we could be together. Anything. (Chap. 14)

    Seems the story is seen through Rory’s eyes, young adult learners may enter Rory’s world, they can feel the maturity in Rory from the language used. The story tells precisely how Rory feels and thinks. Rory’s behaviour and actions show his maturity too. Even some adults cannot think or do something like Rory did. For instance, concern about all the pills and the needs of elderly people. E.g.: ‘Sometimes, living with my Granda was like having a baby in the house.’ (Chapter 1)

    Word & Sentence Level:

    The word and sentence level in this novel are understandable. However, teacher should explain to students the background of this story to help them understand as the words used has some Scottish and old United Kingdom infusion like wee, bonny, tinkers, lassie, etc.. The teacher should also explain about the UK words used; for instance, rucksack instead of backpack, jotter for note pad, aye for yes etc Almost all sentences are in past tense; even what the characters did in the current time is also in past tense. We think this story is a flashback by Rory’s memory. E.g. : “Granda leaned forward and grinned at her.” (Chap. 29)

  21. Culture/Issues

    The culture in the novel mainly from United Kingdom, compare to the novel ‘The Curse’ which is set in Malaysian culture. However, the issue in this novel ‘Catch Us If You Can’ is universal as well as ‘Step by Wicked Step’. In ‘Catch Us If You Can’, many universal and worldwide issues can be found. First, is about unconditional love in family which need great sacrifices. Second, is the issue of hardship, where an old and sickly man lives with his young grandson. Third, is about society intervention and responsibilities where most of the people in society are likely want to help them but some of them just do not care. Fourth, growing up issue is also included in this novel, it highlights the point that young adults of Rory’s age may confront as their characters are shaped by relationships and society around them.
    But here, we can find a little differences with our own culture by which the two live in a quite decent house and amenities even though Granda doesn’t work and Rory is still schooling. In UK, these people get sufficient financial support from their authority and the society is very concern about them, especially teachers are very concern about the students’ needs. The case of their runaway has been a big issue, the news spreads to the entire country and the authority and society are begging for them to come back. In Malaysia, we guess such runaway will not be a big issue to be focused on unless if Rory is missing or Rory dumped Granda on the street, that would be highlighted in national news.

    Literary Elements:

     Plot:
    The view of Rory and Granda’s relationship and life  Granda is admitted to the hospital and then Rachnadar. Rory is sent to the Children’s home in Castle Street  The Great Escape  Kind people help them to run away  Rory found his Granda dead at the bus shelter when they were trying to escape from the police (climax)  Rory looks for help and meets his father in the chaotic situation  Granda recovers from ‘death’  Rory finally can stay together with his Granda and reunited with his father.

     Themes:
    • Unconditional love in family relationship needs great sacrifices.
    - Both Rory and Granda sacrifice so much to maintain the family relationship. They appreciate their loved ones. Granda takes care of Rory since he was a baby and Rory takes care of Granda when he is old.
    • Determination will find the way.
    - Rory and Granda determine to run away for the sake of stay together despite the hardships. Granda said, “You know, if I die tonight, I’ll die a happy man.” Their determination is for their happiness which is unforeseeable.

    • Time will heal the wounds.
    - Granda and Rory reunited with Rory’s father. Jeff regrets the past and Rory forgives his father. Time heals the wounds in their past.

  22. • Characters:
    Granda – Rory’s grandfather a.k.a. Mr. McIntosh.
    Rory - the main character, he is a young boy.
    Val Jessup - The social worker who is responsible for Rory and Granda.
    Mrs. Foley - Rory’s school teacher.
    Darren- Rory’s best friend.
    Jeff Mcintosh – Rory’s long-lost father
    Tyrone, Sammy and Ruby – A kind-hearted family. They are travellers who live in caravan.
    Rab, Annie, and Norma’s family: Kind people in Rory and Granda’s journey.

    • Setting:

    The story is main set up in United Kingdom, somewhere in Scotland to England. Besides, there are 15 mentioned settings in the stories:

    Dr. Nicol’s Clinic, Rory’s School, Rory’s and Granda’s flat, Hospital, Chilren’s home at Castle Street, Rachnadar, Darren’s mother’s caravan, Tyrone’s Caravan, Forfar, Perth Railway Station, Gas Station, Rab’s house., Norma’s house, Bus shelter and Liverpool.

    Moral Values:

    First, be determined and make sure of what you want. In the novel, Rory and Granda determine to run away for the sake of stay together despite the hardships. Granda said, “You know, if I die tonight, I’ll die a happy man.” Their determination is for their happiness which is unforeseeable by people who do not try to ‘see’ it. Second, love is sacrifice. It may be as big as giving up life and all wealth or something as small as giving 5 minutes of your time even if you are very busy just to talk to your loved ones. Granda and Rory sacrifice the many things for their loved ones, they take care for each other despite the generation gap. Third, be mindful of people and your surroundings. Do not judge people easily by their appearance and status. For example, Rab looks bad but he is very kind-hearted. Last but not least, always have faith in God. In this novel, Rory always pray to his Big Man. He ask for help and guidance from his Big Man which we understand here is God.

  23. Physical Aspect

    Font size

    Moderate and clear for reading


    The novel is a bit lengthy but still manageable to be read

    Size of the book



    It is too near between the words. It should be more spaces but it will use more papers. It is also will make the novel longer. So, we think that it is suitable for Form 5 students and it is teachers job to encourage students to read the whole novel. It helps them better in answering questions in examinations

    Theme font

    Theme font of this book is suitable because the shape is tall and thin shape and it is easy to read and it is not crowded. It is comprehensible.


    The blurb or synopsis of the story at the back of the book does give the readers the enthusiasm to read the book because it gives hints on what is happening in he story.

    Front page

    The front page of the novel does portray what will happen in the novel and it relates to the story. The students can assume there is something that the two characters in the novel did because it looked like in the prison.


    The title does portray something will be happened in the story because the two characters keep running and running to escape from the police. The title also gives the readers what to expect from the novel.

  24. Madam Ju, I'm so sorry for the late post... =(

    Prepared by:

    Zulaikha Khairuddin 153465
    Farah Nabillah Mior Yusup 154096
    Emily Yoong AI Nee 154565
    Fatin Zahirah Mustafa 153143

    Thank you Puan Ju.. =)

  25. everything is too long and I'm lazy to read it