Review Blog

Jun 13 2018

The Adventures of Jellybean by Bill Condon and Dianne Bates

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University of Queensland Press, 2018, ISBN 9780702260001
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Goats, Friendship, Pet ownership. "The Adventures of Jellybean" is a fun story, filled with friendship, family life and the highs and lows of owning a pet goat. Author Di Bates has drawn on her special childhood memories of growing up on a goat farm, to co-author this relatable junior novel with Bill Condon.
Best friends and neighbours Rory and Trang love observing their neighbours from high up in the fig tree that borders both of their houses. They love to discuss their future careers, maybe they'll become wrestlers! When Rory's dad complains about mowing the backyard, Trang comes up with a brilliant idea - a pet goat would help. He's even helped milk his uncle's goat.
After a family discussion at Pop's birthday party, Rory's parents agree to buy a nanny goat which both Rory and Trang promise to look after. Jellybean named for her splotchy brown and white coat proves to be a challenging pet. She's noisy, messy, escapes from her pen and even eats human hair. Pet ownership is a steep learning curve! The boys learn responsibility, perseverance and how to be neighbourly sharing her milk with the people living nearby. With the help of their families they make goat's milk soap and learn some life lessons at the school Pet Show.
"The Adventures of Jellybean" is written in an easy to read style, just right for a junior class novel or for independent readers who enjoy realistic stories. Condon and Bates have crafted an engaging story that explores the responsibility of pet ownership, extended family dynamics, being neighbourly and the ups and downs of friendships. Humour, surprising situations and fun facts about owning a goat and goat's milk products add life to this story.
Rhyllis Bignell

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