Yours troolie, Alice Toolie by Kate and Jol Temple
Ill. by Grace West. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523756
(Age: 8-10) Themes: School life, Letter writing, Friendship. From the authors of the Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers series comes another singularly silly, fun and unique junior novel. Alice Toolie is Jimmy's third-grade nemesis; she's a famous Yootootuber, popular class member who loves unicorns, glitter and ballet. When Jimmy finds Alice's secret diary in the library and reads some unpleasant comments about himself, a massive fight occurs. Ms Fennel their class teacher intervenes and both students have to apologise and write letters to each other for the whole term.
At first their letters are niggly, Alice calls Jimmy a privacy-stealing robber and Jimmy replies, "If we were in the olden days, like before the Titanic sank, when there were cavemen, our families would be at war because you said that". As the letters continue both Alice and Jimmy begin to share more humorously about their interests, family life and dramas. They team up to solve the problem of the mysterious ghost in the Level 2 girls' toilets who repeatedly sings a song from Annie the musical. This unfortunately leads to an incident with extremely expensive smelly cheese in the ghost bait jar which reappears right in the middle of the school fete.
Alice and Jimmy become a dynamic duo fund-raising - selling water instead of lemonade because of the school rules - no sugar week, no citrus and no plastic. Dog washing proves problematic as it involves a cat and they finally sell a wonderful array of jars of slime at the school fete. Their letter closings are expressive, resonating with the incidents or actions mentioned in the letter, from "Yours truly, Alice Toolie", "Yours Figuratively", "Yours invincibly" to "Yours wide awake".
Grace West's cartoons add sparkle to this letter-book that is jam-packed with emojis, doodles, ghosts and sketches of the main characters. Yours truly, Alice Toolie is an engaging junior novel suited to readers from 8-10. Writing letters has become a lost art; using these examples, explore this form of communication with Middle Primary classes as an alternative to emailing.