Trouble at school by Chris Higgins, illustrated by Emily McKenzie

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408868850
(Age: 6+) Recommended.
Themes: School stories. Friendship. Problem children.
Chris Higgins brings best friends Bella and Magda back in Trouble at school an amusing story about first days, dealing with a new teacher and difficult classmates.
Before the start of term, perfectionist Bella sets her school bag in order and prepares her new uniform, she even organises her younger brother Sid. Unfortunately when they stop to pick up Magda she ends up with her friend's breakfast spilled all over her. To make matters worse, Bella stays and helps in Sid's class for the whole morning and Mr. Smart, her teacher, is not impressed. He's all about neatness, order and discipline. As Bella's first day continues there's more issues, some caused by Magda and some by troublemakers Claudia Cleverley and her friend Hetty Snoop.
Magda's view of life, her fun and cheekiness help Bella to gain confidence. There's the banter with the dinner ladies, Magda's always wanting something exciting and the creative way they sort out Claudia and Hetty. Miss Pringle the arty relief teacher brings a totally different energy to the girls' class. Her unique teaching style provides an opportunity for Bella, Magda and their classmate Tom to express themselves. Emily McKenzie's comic illustrations are fun and add humour to the story especially with the cow painting reveal!
Trouble at school is just right for a young reader beginning their chapter book journey; with themes of friendship, developing confidence, problem solving and growing in independence.
Rhyllis Bignell