Review Blog

Feb 02 2018

The Susie K Files by Shamini Flint

cover image

Ill. by Sally Heinrich. Allen and Unwin, 2018.
Life of the Party! File no. 1. ISBN: 9781760296681
Game Changer! File no. 2. ISBN: 9781760296698
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. Themes: Self-perception, Identity, Problem solving, School life, Parties. Shamini Flint's new series The Susie K Files brings a fresh new approach to the graphic novel diary genre. Susi K is one of a kind, she is a problem-solver, analytical, willing to stay home and read rather than attend a classmate's party, or participate in her school's sports day. She uses her creativity and resolve to stand up to her mother's demands that she fit in and be accepted by the popular girls. Her mother's constant comparisons to her war-torn childhood drive these demands. The narrative is driven by the funny dialogue with plenty of speech bubbles, even George has something to say!
File No 1 Life of the Party introduces us to the Smith Family, her soccer-loving dad, her ambitious mother, handsome and popular teenage brother Jack and nine year old Susie K. She loves science, reading and problem solving, her life is so organised she even keeps records of her experiments. Her Sri Lankan mother wants the best for her daughter, including success and popularity much to Susie K's dismay. Susie K likes science instead of netball and uses the class goldfish as a sounding board. When Mum overhears that popular Clementine has invited the whole class to her birthday party she is pleased. Unfortunately Susie K hasn't received an invite yet. What does Susie K do, she applies her five step approach to problem solving to come up with a solution? When Clementine's mother bans the use of party balloons because of their environmental impact, our problem solving girl comes up with some crazy, creative alternatives.
Sports Day looms at Susie K's school, everyone is signing up for the usual events, javelin, discus, races in Game Changer File No. 2. Susie K has two weeks to choose a suitable sport, unfortunately netball is not an option. After some spectacular failures, Susie K rules out team sports and individual events. With her best friend George the goldfish and Bones her real size skeleton, this problem solver comes up with a creative solution. Susie K's surprising answer helps the Purple Team in their quest for house points.
Sally Heinrich's fun cartoon sketches add energy to the humorous story, with Susie K's lively expressions, her problems solved by drawing scientific diagrams and the class goldfish George's fishbowl antics.
Shamini Flint's The Susie K Files are just right to share with middle primary classes, perfect for introducing problem solving skills, for creative writing and for teaching scientific strategies.
Rhyllis Bignell

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