Review Blog

Apr 28 2014

Ava Anne Appleton: Up and away by Wendy Harmer

cover image

Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743621813.
This is the second in the Ava Anne Appleton series, in which Ava has all kinds of adventures. Ava's parents have embarked on a year long holiday traveling around Australia in their mobile home that they call the Adventurer. Her parents are very keen but Ava is not so sure, especially when it comes to driving along very narrow roads at great heights. She is missing all her friends and even her little dog Angus can't seem to cheer her up. However a stopover at the historic homestead Kardinya changes everything. Here Ava meets Bonnie Brown, who could almost be her twin. Bonnie has been traveling around Australia with her parents and her little dog Banjo for almost a year now.
They find that they have so much in common and immediately become best friends. Ava and Bonnie are the same age, like the same things and even live very close to one another. They immediately join up to explore the old homestead together as their parents prepare a shared lunch. After lunch they find it very hard to say goodbye but take consolation that when Ava returns home at the end of the year they will be able to spend time together. Due to a very nasty storm the two families meet again by chance and the two girls are inseparable. Bonnie is keen to share all the wonderful adventures that she has had traveling with her family and convinces Ava that she is in for the time of her life.
The next morning they find that their parents have organized a hot-air balloon ride for all of them. Again Ava is just a little scared but Bonnie convinces her to jump on board. Needless to say Ava has a wonderful time. Ava is filled with new confidence and looks forward to future adventures on the road.
This story explores issues of friendship and of being confident in new situations. It is a great read for younger children, using clear imagery and simple black and white pencil sketches. It is not necessary to have read the first book to understand and appreciate this episode. The story moves along quickly and leaves the reader wondering what will happen next.
Lyn Poole

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