Review Blog

Feb 26 2020

The besties show and smell by Felice Arena

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Illus. by Tom Jellett. Puffin Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760890988. 80pp.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Best of friends, Ruby and Oliver, sit next to each other at school, but when a relief teacher takes them for the day, things change, for the worse. He does not have a sense of humour and when he spies Oliver drawing him in an unsympathetic manner, separates the friends to opposite places in the classroom. But Mr Botham is called away, leaving the class on its own and Ruby rushes to the front of the room with her ukulele ready to present her show and tell, cancelled by Mr Botham at the start of the day. Oliver is worried that Mr Botham will return and be even more cross and watches the door. And then when Zac goes to the front of the room to show everyone how he makes rude noises with his armpit, he sees the teacher returning and organises everyone to sit back down and be quiet. But he is cross with Ruby because she initiated the behaviour and refuses to talk to her at break.
How the friends resolve their differences takes up the next several pages in this highly entertaining story. With easily recognised situations and characters, younger readers will love this series of books, involving events that happen everyday in classrooms, and with a neat finish, show children how readily disagreements can be resolved.
Jellett's funny illustrations add another level of humour to the proceedings, ensuring every child will recognise themselves in the classroom. And the addition of a short comic tale at the end along with some Bestie jokes, Ruby's song and instructions on making a loud noise with your armpit, readers will read this aloud to their friends, laughing all the while. A wonderful series which fills the niche between picture books and short chapter stories for younger readers, these books will be eagerly shared, while teachers will laugh out loud reading them to their class. Themes: Friendship, School, Show and tell.
Fran Knight

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