Review Blog

Jun 01 2018

The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery by Deborah Abela

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Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143786689
(Age: 8-12) Themes: Spelling, Competitions, Friendship, Mystery. Triumphant India Wimple returns to Yungabila after winning the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee at the Sydney Opera House. India overcame her self-doubt with the support of her family and some spelling bee friends. When a special delivery letter is handed to India at the whole town celebrations of her success, things are about to change. India is invited to travel to London for the Most Marvellous Spelling Bee along with champions from across the globe. The whole town rallies together, even while suffering from a drought to raise the finances for the Wimple family's trip.
Canadian champion Molly is accompanied by her rather selfish parents who would rather promote their Beat Butts and Guts fitness program. Peter and his grandpop travel from Wormwood in England and Rajish Kapoor reunites with India as well. Their friendship and love of spelling has been shared via letters rather than emails. The contestants enjoy a wonderful afternoon meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace, even superior Summer seems to have settled down. Unfortunately someone is out to sabotage the completion, The Kroft's Dog Show hounds are let loose at the hotel, dangerous equipment falls on to the stage and there is a fear the Spelling Bee will be cancelled. India and her friends rally together, overcoming their individual fears, while drawing on each other's strengths and with the aid of some family members they discover who is behind the disruptions.
Deborah Abela's The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery shares positive themes of friendship, confidence, and personal growth while she honestly explores different family dynamics, and looks at the impact of asthma on a family. Read aloud to a middle primary class, they will enjoy the quirky characters, solving the mystery and Abela's celebration of the English language. Each chapter heading begins with a spectacular, triumphant word, the part of speech, meaning and use in a sentence as presented to a Spelling Bee contestant. The reader learns that winning isn't everything, just like the young contestants who discover something more important.
Rhyllis Bignell

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