Review Blog

Aug 13 2019

Gym squad tumble by Meredith Costain

cover image

Illus. by Danielle McDonald. Ella Diaries book 16. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760662844.
(Age: 6-9) Themes: Gymnastics, Competitions, Djibouti. Ella's super excited, her school is celebrating International Sports Day. Each class will choose a country, research and practise the sports and present one item at a special event. Will there be 'high jumpering, table tennising, bicycling and hopefully gymnastics' Ella's favourite event? Her diary shows just her excitement. Unfortunately, Peach (Precious Perfect Princess) desperately pleads with their teacher to be the special name-chooserer and much to everyone's surprise she picks Djibouti out of the hat.
Miss Weiss, Ella's teacher guides her students in researching the African country, she sets different groups and leaders to investigate and report back to their class. Ella desperately wants a leading role, but unfortunately others are picked and she's a little upset. Ammi finally asks Ella to take on the job of Head Designer of Gymanstical Outfits - imagine leotards with feathers, bells, tassels and glitter mesh sleeves!
Dramas, design dilemmas and divas all play a part in the highs and lows of Ella's diary entries. She has a wonderful, expressive way of writing exaggerating and embellishing words. As her class develops their special routine for the International Sports Day, Ella sense of fairness is tested. She realistically portrays the personalities and problems she faces.
Author Meredith Costain's Ella Diaries are fun to read, filled with an abundance of girly things, exploring the ups and downs of Ella's life, her friendships and difficult relationship with Peach Parker. She openly and honestly portrays school life, adding unique words to build Ella's character. Danielle McDonald's illustrations add a liveliness and excitement: there's a ROO-TEEN, Peach's dramatic dive off the tree stump and Ella's sparkly outfit. Bold text, expressive sizes and styles of font make this another fun and fabulous addition to the Ella Diaries, just right for readers from six to nine.
Rhyllis Bignell

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