Review Blog

Oct 22 2013

Ava Anne Appleton : Accidental Adventurer by Wendy Harmer

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Ill. by Andrea Edmonds. Scholastic; Australia: 2013. ISBN: 9781742838755.
(Age: Newly independent readers) Recommended. Wendy Harmer needs no introduction to younger readers familiar with the Pearlie series. Welcome to her latest series starring Ava Anne Appleton which is sure to become just as popular with the newly independent reader.
All is well in Ava's world. She is a most particular and careful girl who lives in Australia Avenue with her parents, Anne and Alan and dog Angus. Yes, A is her favourite letter and she strives to get an A for all her school work.
Ava loves her ordered and safe life so when her father arrives home one Saturday in a mobile home named The Adventurer and announces they are all heading off in it for a year, she is not so sure it is a good idea especially as there seems to be no plan or itinerary.
Their first stop in a clearing near a lake surrounded by bushland has Ava worried, especially when her parents encourage her to explore and Angus disappears into the bush. When she tries to follow him and becomes lost Ava is distraught. That's when Zander comes to the rescue.
Zander not only prefers to be from the opposite end of the alphabet she is the complete opposite of Ava. Untidy, grubby, barefoot and as super confident in her environment as Ava was in hers. Zander shows Ava how to read the signposts in her neighbourhood, and returns her to her parents by sailing on the lake in her boat Zephyr.
This series has the potential to introduce readers to the wonders of travelling around Australia as Ava learns to appreciate life outside of the confines of Australia Avenue and enjoys new experiences. The larger print and illustrations are ideal for readers just exploring chapter books.
I look forward to finding out if the focus on alliteration continues to be a theme and if the next character Ava meets begins with a Y.
Sue Keane

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