Review Blog

Jun 10 2011

The Little Lie by Sally Rippin

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2011. ISBN 9781921848001.
Billie B. Brown has two colourful slings, three pink bandaids and a bandage around her head, a consequence of being trampled by a dinosaur while out hunting with her friend Jack. Unfortunately, Billie suffers a real injury and before long her arms is encased in a real plaster cast and a real sling. Like most kids, Billie sees this more as about getting attention at school than a lesson about climbing on the fence, but it is what happens when she tells a little lie that kind of grows about her accident that the story centres on. Sometimes the attention we seek is not the kind we want, and sometimes the harder we try the less we get.
This book is part of a new series about Billie B. Brown, and is probably best described by teachers as a 'beginning chapter book'. With its short chapters, large font and monochrome illustrations, it is a perfect bridge between the structure of the instructional reader and a novel, enabling independent reading. The storylines are engaging and at the right level for the 6-8 year-old girl. They could imagine being in Billie's circle of friends and empathise with her. In each book, the B. stands for something different and the story is built around this.
Aki Fukuoka has hit just the right note with her illustrations, with that big-eyed look that is so popular right now with this age group, and clothing that is of this time. There are many similarities between Billie and Miss Nearly 7.
Reading Matters (Ross, McKechnie and Rothbauer) demonstrates that there are very sound reasons why emerging readers need to read series and this one is on the money. It's almost an Australian answer to the very American Junie B. Jones widely regarded as the stepping stone to independence in the US. There's a website with lots of activities and the first chapters of the other titles in the series online to taste, tempt and tease.
A must-have series on your library shelves to cater appropriately for those 6-8 year-old girls who are still little girls.
Barbara Braxton

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