Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Annabelle and the Missing Turtles

Annabelle and the Missing Turtles by Rose Inserra, illustrated by Jason Chatfield (Wombat Books)
HB RRP $12.95
ISBN 978-1-921632-38-9
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

The sea turtles are disappearing from their habitat on the Queensland coast.  It’s up to Matilda, Emily, Amy, Annabelle and Jasmine to solve the mystery of where the turtles could have gone.  Perhaps they have been snatched away. Thanks to their rainbow necklace, the girls are taken back in time and given some important information by a famous Australian explorer.  Can the girls save the day?  With some clever advertising and a beach rescue only time will tell.

Annabelle and the Missing Turtles is the third book in the Australian Girl series.  It is a lovely blend of environmentalism, turtle biology and history with a touch of magic.  Although part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone book.  However, as the first book does introduce the Rainbow Necklace it would certainly be worthwhile meeting the Australian Girls from the very beginning.

The group of girls that star in the book are based on the successful line of Australian Girls dolls created by Helen Schofield.  The five friends - Matilda, Emily, Amy, Annabelle and Jasmine - come from different ethnic backgrounds and bring a variety of strengths and interests to the group.

In this latest instalment of the series, the girls are faced with the disappearance of the loggerhead and green sea turtle hatchlings from their beach nest.  Together they embark on a mission to discover the whereabouts of the missing wildlife.  In order to do this, they spend time with a marine biologist learning all they can about the turtles.  Thanks to their magical Rainbow Necklace, the friends take a trip back in time and meet an Australian explorer.  Through the explorer’s aboriginal companion, they learn the secret behind the hatchlings’ disappearance. Armed with all this knowledge, they are able to find, capture and return the animals to the sea.

Overall, I found this to be a lovely book combining environmental themes and Australian history with fun and friendship.  It is a book that will appeal to young girls around 8 – 10 years, especially if they already own an Australian Girl doll.  More information about the dolls can be found online at: http://www.australiangirldoll.com.au/.

Rose Inserra is an internationally published author of over sixty children’s books on topics ranging from library resource books to fiction and picture books.  She lives in Melbourne and when she is not writing she runs workshops as acts as a coach and editor for aspiring authors.

Jason Chatfield is a cartoonist and stand-up comedian based in Melbourne.  He is the fifth cartoonist in 91 years to produce the iconic Australian comic strip, Ginger Meggs.  His work has been published in several books in Australia and overseas.

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