Meet Mia by the jetty by Janeen Brian
Illus. by Danny Snell. Aussie Kids.Puffin Books, 2020. ISBN:
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. A new series of eight books, each set in a different state or territory of Australia with eight different characters and themes is a welcome addition to the library of books available for the newly emerging reader. Each contains a map of Australia to pinpoint its setting, a postcard at the start to introduce the main character and several pages at the end to explain things which have appeared in the text. Short chapters, copious illustrations, good spacing and easy on the eye font, all packaged in a smaller book size make this series most useful.
Meet Mia at the jetty is a gentle seaside story by South Australian, Janeen Brian, reflecting the sights and sounds of Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide. Here two sisters, Mia and Alice are told that they will have a boy, Jim, staying with them while his mother is in hospital. Mia is delighted thinking she will be able to show him around their town, and makes herself a tour guide badge. Alice is somewhat dismissive as is the want for an older sister, but as the story develops the two girls learn to be positive about each other.
Mia shows Jim around her town, pointing out features as they go. Luckily they live across the road from the beach and Mia collects things to have in her bedroom. They wander along the beachfront, have a sandcastle competition, go out to Granite Island on the horse tram, see a fairy penguin's home and then visit the Whale Centre. Here they are hopeful of seeing a whale and climb to the lookout. Mia thinks she sees one but it turns out to be a boat, until another tourist does notice a whale, thanking Mia for pointing in that direction.
A lovely story, Alice comes over to her sister's way of thinking, even adjusting the badge on her sister's shirt. Danny Snell's illustrations evoke all the fun of the seaside and holidays by the beach. Younger readers will be introduced to what to expect in a day at the beach and specifically what they will see when visiting Victor Harbor, and have some environmental messages given about fairy penguins, with more information about these animals given at the end of the story.
Theme: Sea, Beach, Whales, Penguins, Victor Harbor, Family, Humour.