Review Blog

Jun 18 2019

Elizabella and the great tuckshop takeover by Zoe Norton Lodge

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Illus. by Georgia Norton Lodge. Elizabella book 2. Walker, 2019, ISBN: 9781760650551.
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Themes: School Stories, Self-perception, Families. Author and illustrator team sisters Zoe and Georgia Norton Lodge bring us the second engaging Elizabella story. She's a fourth-grade student at Bilby Creek Primary, who often spends time in 'think about what you've done' corner. She loves playing with her tall Chinese friend Minnie, creating new ways of conversing and spending time outdoors. Her older brother Todberry has spent the summer working as a lifeguard at the local pool. At home, Dad's introduced new tasteless breakfast food from the Nutricorp multinational company.
On the first day back at school, Elizabella notices that her much-loved school is falling apart, even Miss Duck the tuck-shop manager must ration supplies. Principal Mr Gobblefrump's cost-cutting measures include no maths textbooks, teachers writing their lessons in chalk, closing off sections of the playground and suspending the recorder program. With no funds for any resources or repairs, the principal meets representatives of Nutriicorp who offer to take over the canteen and turn a profit. Soon everything at school has a Nutricorp brand, and even the students wear promotional stickers and use labelled stationery.
Elizabella takes a stand when Miss Duck's role is threatened. She's a third-generation baker whose pies and pikelets the students love. An outbreak of headlice adds additional problems, forcing her to cut off the tangled knot of hair she's kept since her mother passed away. Things become complicated with Huck, Elizabella's guy friend, when her Dad develops his relationship with Huck's mum. There are too many changes. Can Elizabella stop the corporate takeover which sweeps though Bilby Creek and how can she help Miss Duck find a new outlet for her culinary skills?
Zoe Norton Hodge conveys a sense of fun, quirkiness and drive in her characters, and includes themes of loyalty, identity, sense of community and building family relationships. The character sketches, additions of songs and a new version of Little Red Riding Hood add to the appeal of Elizabella and the Great Tuckshop Takeover.
This is an engaging story for readers from eight to eleven years, just right for a Middle Primary class novel leading to discussions about how one child can make a difference.
Rhyllis Bignell

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