Review Blog

Dec 03 2018

Lemonade Jones by Davina Bell and Karen Blair

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781925266733
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: School, Animals, Family. Containing two short stories, The first day back and The zoo that comes to you, this volume will appeal to younger readers who have moved from picture books to reading something more complex and wordy. Lemonade is an assured young girl, moving into primary school after her prep school closed down. Mum is a little concerned about the change, but Lemonade Jones is looking forward to the challenge. But from the start things go awry. Her best friend is in a different class, her teacher Miss Wisby is like a witch and she is made to sit by a girl she does not know. When she becomes unsettled she bites a child and is sent to the quiet corner for the rest of the afternoon, but a talk with Miss Wisby sees a compromise on both sides as Lemonade knows she did the wrong thing, and Miss Wisby thanks her for reminding her just how upsetting the first day at school can be.
The second story concerns Lemonade Jones' birthday party. About to turn six she chooses to have 'The Zoo that comes to you', as her party and invites her friends from school. But when the organiser turns up, he brings in just a few cages with birds, some spiders and not a lot else. So Lemonade Jones must make some bold decisions, and her imagination saves the day.
Lemonade Jones is a character children will take to their hearts as they read of her in situations not unlike ones they have encountered. West Australian author, Davina Bell has a light touch writing about girls and their issues. She wrote the Alice books in Puffin's Our Australian Girls series, which were understandably well received. And Karen Blair's charming illustrations bring another layer of interest to the stories.
Fran Knight

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