Review Blog

Sep 04 2012

Five times dizzy and Dancing in the Anzac deli by Nadia Wheatley

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Lothian Children's Books, 2012, 208 pgs., p/b. ISBN 9780734413819.
Recommended for readers 10-14. The award-winning stories Five times dizzy and Dancing in the Anzac deli by Nadia Wheatley are now combined in this 30th anniversary edition. Together they tell the tale of Mareka and her Greek Australian family who run a deli on Smith Street in the multi-cultural suburb of Newtown, Sydney.
In Five times dizzy Mareka is worried about her grandmother who is listless, sad and homesick. Mareka has a plan to help her Greek grandmother settle in Australia and with the full support of the Smith Street community she just might be able to make it happen.
'Have you ever turned round and round in circles till you've gone completely giddy?' Well, when Mareka gets an idea, she feels her mind whirling in a spin like the Five times dizzy dance.
Dancing in the Anzac deli focuses on Mareka's family's deli, named after the Australian and New Zealand soldiers hidden by Greeks in Crete. What's going on in Smith Street? A rock is thrown through the Anzac deli window and Mareka's father has been strange for a couple of weeks now, talking hush hush with certain customers. The kids on Smith Street had been gathering at the haunted house, which is now being occupied by a standover merchant and the mysterious Munga, leaving the kids with nowhere to go. Can they unite as a community and fight the harassment or will they give in and just accept it? And will there be celebrations and dancing in the Anzac deli again?
Both of these humorous adventure stories place an emphasis on a community coming together to achieve a common goal. The books are told from the different characters' points of view and are easy to follow. This 30th anniversary edition includes a section at the back where Wheatley provides the answers to some commonly asked questions and some good tips for any young budding writers out there.
Michelle Thomson

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