Pearlie and Great Aunt Garnet by Wendy Harmer
(Ages 6-9) When she discovers that it is Opal's birthday, Pearlie the Park Fairy decides to organise a surprise party for all of the creatures from Jubilee Park. Jasper the Elf is not sure about inviting the rats, Scrag and Mr Flea. On discovering that they are not invited, the rats decide to plan their own party. Both Pearlie and the rats head to Great Aunt Garnet's fairy shop to order their party goodies. Whilst Pearlie orders a cake 'with sugar and spice and everything nice', the rats request 'the biggest, yuckiest cake ever', filled instead with 'slugs and snails and puppy dog tails'. On the day of the party, a mix up with the cakes turns out to be a blessing in disguise.
Harmer proves that, not only can she use her sense of humour to appeal to adults but she is equally capable of writing for children as well. The simple story, interspersed with rhyming verses, is engaging and humorous. Readers see the importance of friendship, inclusion, planning, sharing and the benefit of being given a second chance. The Pearlie stories are didactic yet hold much appeal for young children. Pearlie and Great Aunt Garnet includes party invitations, door hanger and suggestions for party games and decorations. Together with the clever marketing of this hard cover book, Gypsy Taylor's vibrant illustrations make this an attractively presented book which will be in demand by emergent female readers or girls wishing to be read aloud to by an adult.