Squishy Taylor and the Mess-Makers written by Ailsa Wild, illustrated by Ben Wood (Hardie Grant Egmont)
PB RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Liz Ledden
Squishy Taylor is back, in the fourth instalment of this fun, new junior fiction series aimed at 6 to 9 year olds. The story begins with Squishy revealing her admiration for rock climbing, You Tube sensation Carmeline Clancy. Excitement brews when Carmeline comes to town to film a movie, featuring all-important stunts, and Squishy is determined to meet her.
When Squishy and her step-sisters (a.k.a. her ‘bonus sisters’) encounter a cute, stray dog, learn of Carmeline’s supposed hotel room trashing antics, and have a run-in with their idol’s evil looking nanny, intrigue is well and truly built. Squishy’s instincts tell her Carmeline is not the disrespectful brat the adults around her (and the news) are insisting, and she’s compelled to prove her innocence. Squishy is inspired by her mum’s own world-saving antics in her UN job in Geneva.
This is a fast-paced, action-packed story accentuated by Ben Wood’s expressive illustrations. Readers will delight in Squishy’s fearless attitude, non-stop ninja moves and propensity for giving funny names to those she encounters (like Boring Lady and the Fancy Men). Once again, Squishy exhibits all the emotional ups and downs of a typical 11 year old, with huge doses of bravery and loyalty. She defies rules and follows her heart, fighting for those she believes in, whether it’s a movie star or a dog on the street.