Review Blog

Nov 23 2011

On Orchard Road by Elspeth Edgar

cover image

Walker Books, 2011. ISBN 9781921720291.
(Ages: 11 +) Highly recommended. As the story begins Jane is moving to the country with her dad, leaving her mother and premature baby sister in hospital in Melbourne. She is feeling resentful at the changes the intrusion of the baby has brought and is very fearful of being in a new school and town. At first her worst fears are realised and she is targeted by a bully at school. However a nasty run in with him and some of his mates results in her meeting a reclusive and intriguing old woman.
The story from here also involves a teenage boy Michael who with the old woman helps Jane to recognise the many blessings in her life. Teenage girls will enjoy the gentle romance between Jane and Michael.
The theme of coping with change is dealt with sensitively and the lovely descriptive prose makes it an ideal addition to any collection. It would be an excellent shared novel for upper primary and could be used by school counselors as well.
Chris Lloyd

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