Double dare you by Meredith Costain

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Ill. by Danielle McDonald. Ella Diaries bk 1. Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781743628638
Highly recommended for girls from 7-9 years. Ella's Christmas gift of a new diary causes some initial problems. How do you start a diary? What do you record? Absolutely everything! Who can read it? Only Ella of course. She is apprehensive about starting school, who will be her Grade 5 teacher and will she be separated from her friends?Tuesday's entry is filled with the highs and lows, Zoe her best friend doesn't show up and mean girl Peach Parker has to sit in the seat right next to Ella. Unfortunately, Miss Weiss their teacher pairs up Peach and Ella to work on a project together. Peach, Prinny and Jade take every opportunity to harass Ella in class and out in the yard.
The first weeks in Grade 5 are full of ups and downs, Peach and her friends show their true colours as they harass other students, interrupt learning and bully their classmates. These girls involve many of their classmates in an embarrassing game of Dare. Ella and Zoe find themselves playing ball by themselves. When Ella stands up to Peach and Jade, refusing to play a trick on classmate Cordelia, the bullying stops.
The bold use of red in both the sketches and text makes the story pop. Different text styles, placement of words, use of expressive punctuation and poems are exciting features used to engage the reader. Meredith Costain's Ella Diaries explore the real issues girls face at school and home. Ella is definitely not a wimpy kid, she's resourceful, caring and real.
Rhyllis Bignell