What Zola did on Monday by Melina Marchetta

cover image

Illus. by Deb Hudson. Puffin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760895150.
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. A series of stories for the newly capable reader will captivate its audience as they read of a girl just like them: one who gets into trouble without trying to, who seemingly does the wrong thing without meaning to, but is loved and cherished despite her shortcomings.
Zola lives with her mother and her widowed Nonna. Nonna is a keen gardener and one day she tells Zola to get the special seeds from the shed. Without meaning to, Zola drops the container and spreads them over the floor having to hastily pick them up again. Nonna tells her that they were bought for her by her husband years ago at the St Odo's fete and she would know when to plant them.
At school, Zola's teacher has displayed some photos of St Odo's fete and there is one of Zola's Nonna and Nonno Nino. Zola is surprised at how happy her Nonna looks.
That evening she and her friend trampoline in the garden. The gate is left open and her dog rushes into Nonna's vegetable garden and pulls down many of the plants, particularly the ones from the seeds in the shed.
Nonna is devastated and Zola feels the weight of her mistake but has an idea to restore the situation.
What she does brings smiles all round and encourages the class and the community to restore St Odo's garden to what it was.
Well supported with charming, family friendly illustrations, this lovely rounded story is told with a sensitivity for the generations that have preceded us. The tale will delight younger readers, eager to find out how Zola resolves the situation she has made. This is the first in a series which covers the days of one week, starring Zola and her family, and readers will know from the back page that Tuesday involves a cat. Themes: Family, Vegetables, Gardening, Days of the week.
Fran Knight