Little Lifesavers by Yvette Poshoglian
Ella and Olivia series. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743811498
(Age: Emergent readers) Recommended. When Ella and Olivia go to stay with their grandparents, along with their family, they decide that they want to follow in mum's footsteps and join the Nippers surf lifesaving club. With their new tops emblazoned with the words Two Pines Beach, the girls head excitedly to their first lesson. Despite them both trying their hardest, Angela, a mean girl, manages to make them both doubt their abilities and almost their decision to join. Mum and their Nanna are proud of the fact that the girls help each other and do their best.
Over the coming week, the girls continue to practise and improve their skills. By the time the next week comes around, they eagerly head off again, hoping to show the coach how well they have done. Will they be able to fulfil their dreams or will Angela manage to beat them again?
Not having read an Ella and Olivia title before, but knowing just how popular they are in school libraries, I put myself in the headset of our younger readers and realised that the stories are definitely aimed at young girls and encourage them to try new skills and adventures. As I neared the end, I'd predicted the outcome and found myself being totally engaged in the simple story. I hoped that the girls would manage to achieve their goals and was quite satisfied with the conclusion. I can see exactly why emergent readers love these stories so much and will be even more proactive in recommending them to this demographic in future.