Review Blog

Jun 26 2009

The remarkable secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen by Deborah Abela

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Random House, Australia, 2009
(Age 8-10) Having been brought up at the Seaside Pier funfair, Aurelie Bonhoffen has had the kind of life of which many children would dream, filled with fun, freedom, and fabulously eccentric extended family. On the evening of her twelfth birthday, Aurelie discovers her family has a remarkable secret which, to date, had been hidden from her. It is this secret which enables the family to protect the pier from the clutches of the evil characters who wish to see it demolished.
By including characters that embody many of the typical stereotypes of good and evil, Abela injects the story with a great deal of humour. Uncles Rolo and Rindolf are truly zany and likeable, whilst the 'baddies' including the principal, the mayor and Crook are the exact opposite. At the same time as trying to solve the mystery, the reader is encouraged to cheer on the team that is working to save the Pier and restore it to its original glory. To the adult the clues appear to be obvious, yet children enjoy the twists and turns without feeling the outcome to be entirely predictable.
Abela has created an entertaining and engaging read for younger to middle primary students with mystery, adventure and magic all rolled in to one novel. As a stand alone title, this works extremely well.
Jo Schenkel

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