Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters written by Ailsa Wild, illustrated by Ben Wood (Hardie Grant Egmont)
PB RRP $12.95
Reviewed by Liz Ledden
Squishy Taylor is a brand new junior fiction series starring a feisty, curious, brave 11 year old. Squishy (real name, Sita) has a blended family and mixed racial heritage. As Squishy says, ‘this is what normal looks like now’. She lives with her dad, step-mum, baby half-sister, and her twin ‘bonus sisters’ Vee and Jessie. She keeps in touch with her mum, who’s working for the UN in Geneva, via Skype, and likes to do ‘ninja flips’ off the triple bunk bed she shares with the twins. This is no stereotypical, saccharine sweet protagonist.
In Squishy Taylor and the bonus sisters, Squishy comes across a boy hiding in her underground car park, who is on the run after supposedly stealing a tram. Squishy relishes the challenge of sneaking out of home to deliver him food, and bonds with Vee and Jessie in the process when she lets them into her secret. Interactions with neighbourly nemesis Mr Hinkenbushel ensue as the story unravels, and the reader learns more about Squishy’s sometimes complex relationships with her different family members along the way.
Sassy, headstrong and not without faults, Squishy is a refreshing character with a strong voice. Her ups and downs with her step-sisters mimic real-life sibling dramas, and she definitely makes mistakes.
The first in the Squishy Taylor series is a fast-paced, fun option for mid-primary school aged readers. Further titles A Question of Trust, The Vase that Wasn’t and The Mess Makers are due out in quick succession in the first half of 2016 – definitely a series to watch!