Something special by Emily Rodda

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Well-known award-winning Australian author Emily Rodda has been writing for 40 years. Her debut novel Something Special was written in 1984 and was a CBCA Book of the Year in the Younger Reader Awards category in 1985. To celebrate the 40-year anniversary, HarperCollins Publishers have re-released this short novel for a new generation of readers.

The story is centred on the school fete and Sam and her mother Lizzie are involved in organising the second hand clothing stall. There are bags of clothes spread throughout the house with Sam’s younger baby brother Toby causing some mischief. When the clothes are finally tidied and packed away in boxes ready for the fete, Sam falls asleep in the large chair. When she awakes she finds that some of ‘The Special’ items are being worn by their previous owners. Sam is bewildered by how this could have happened and interesting conversations take place between Sam and the visitors. When it begins to get out of hand, Sam wakes up screaming and is soothed by her mother. All is as it was in the room. Was Sam dreaming? At the fete, the second hand clothing stall does very well, with those items known as ‘The Special’ all going to the right fit person. But there is one particular customer who has a connection to Sam and Sam is left wondering if it really was just a dream.

This is an engaging story with a touch of fantasy and magic but was written 40 years ago and some of the references to children’s discipline may not be what would happen now. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: School Fete, Second hand Clothes, Dreaming, Fantasy.

Kathryn Beilby