Review Blog

Aug 15 2012

Bindi behind the scenes: A guest appearance by Bindi Irwin (with Jess Black)

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Book #3 in the Bindi behind the scenes series. Random House Australia, 2012. 187 pages.
(Ages: 10-12) From what I can gather this book is written to be loosely based on Bindi Irwin's real life but with a largely fabricated storyline. I find it a little disconcerting however that this is written as if it is based on an actual experience of Bindi's (there is even a diary page signed by Bindi at the beginning of the book) when no mention of a guest appearance by Bindi in any television series can be found in reality. Written in third person the fictitious scene for 'A guest appearance' is set when Bindi is given the opportunity to make a guest appearance on a popular US tween/teen television show called Riding High. The television program is based around an elite horse riding school and features the exploits and adventures of three teenagers attending the school.
The story itself begins with Bindi's trip to New York with her mum Terri and her little brother Robert. From the beginning it is clear that the story's intention is to parade the Irwin family as down-to-earth and unpretentious despite their high profile. For example, it is bizarrely worked into conversation that the family have flown economy and when arriving in LA Bindi is modestly looking around for the movie star who the limousine is waiting for, completely unsuspecting that the fancy car is there for her. The story also blatantly dictates a few home truths or 'morals' to the reader and in some cases it seems that the quality of the storyline was of minor importance when the authors were trying to work in all these opportunities for moral teachings. In her short time in LA Bindi manages to remind everyone of the importance of family and that money doesn't buy happiness, help her new friends to stop being teen divas and be grateful for their charmed lives, save the television show from being axed, fix numerous relationships and lead the charge against animal friendly fashion. What a week! Overall this is definitely not the greatest storyline but for what it is worth it is well written and will probably appeal to Bindi Irwin fans and animal lovers. My only concern is that these books as a concept should probably be aimed at a slightly younger audience. The reading difficulty and the addition of some more mature themes means that the book is probably out of range for many of the readers who this subject matter would most appeal to.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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