Review Blog

Mar 09 2018

Total TV Drama by Meredith Costain

cover image

Ella Diaries. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760279066
(Age: 7+) When Ella's teacher announces that their class will be appearing in the TV show Quiz-zam, she and her friends all want to take part. The problem is that not everyone can be on the panel - only four of the twenty-six students in the class can be involved. Each of the children needs to audition by taking part in a quiz in the classroom. Ella goes home and drives her family crazy as she begins to devour as much information as possible, constantly spouting interesting facts, to ensure she will be part of the team.
Finally, after the team is announced, costumes discussed and practise complete, filming begins. Teams are sworn to secrecy and not allowed to discuss the outcomes with families or friends. Which team will win and will the show strengthen the girls' friendships make them a cohesive group or create more tensions?
The diary type format, large and varied font sizes and copious illustrations peppered throughout the text make this an easy series for emergent readers but the content makes it engaging enough for middle primary students as well. Personally, I found the purposely misspelled words quite frustrating. I know there are numerous students who struggle with spelling and may be inclined not to even pick these errors up as being incorrect. Despite this fact, I am well aware that books from this series are rarely on the library shelves, as they are so popular, and will continue to recommend them as a stepping stone for our younger readers.
Jo Schenkel

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