Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Ava Anne Appleton: Accidental Adventurer

Ava Anne Appleton: Accidental Adventurer by Wendy Harmer, illustrated by Andrea Edmonds (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-875-5
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Ava Anne Appleton is at the beginning of the alphabet and that is just how she likes it. Life is ordered and predictable. She lives with her mother, father and dog Angus at 3A Australia Avenue. Then one day her life is turned upside down.

Her parents buy a motor home. They plan to travel around Australia for a year, to have a grand adventure. Ava is sure she’ll hate adventures. On their travels, Ava meets Zander, who prefers being on the end of the alphabet (it gives her time to think before her name is called). Through Zander, Ava gains a new perspective on her travels.

Wendy Harmer’s dry humour is perfectly at home in this delightful story about change:

“But where will we go?” asked Ava.
“Anywhere we want!” declared her Dad. “We’ll just look on the map, point a finger and that’s where we’ll drive. Everything we need is here inside the Adventurer. The world is our oyster.”
Oyster? Ava didn’t like oysters, or any other strange, smelly foods come to that.

The black and white illustrations are an important part of the story. Like in picture books, these charming, soft paintings add so much character to the people and emotions. These pictures accompany twelve short chapters, with large print, making it great for extending beginner readers in the 7-8 year old age reader range.

Ava Anne Appleton is not a story about the alphabet. It is about family and friendships and explores how people live different lives, have different views, outlooks and personalities. Change may be scary, but adventure can open your eyes to much more than you anticipate. This is the start of a new series which will be loved by many young girls.

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