Ella Diaries: Worst Camp Ever by Meredith Costain, Illustrated by Danielle McDonald (Scholastic Australia) PB RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
In the safety of her diary pages, Ella writes about her life, events, fears, triumphs and biggest secrets, many of which will be totally recognisable for the young girls – between the ages of seven and eleven years – who will read the Ella Diaries series. From her struggles at school to tackling the complicated tangles of social relationships and navigating the currents of friendships, Ella bares her soul on the pains of growing up and grade six.
In Worst Camp Ever, Ella goes on school camp with her class and discovers it is not all fun and excitement. Firstly, she has to share a cabin with scheming Peach Parker and her mean girl clique. Then there are scary noises at night. Not only that, she has to face the flying fox, one of her greatest fears.
And then it was my turn next.
And then the butterflies started fluttering around inside my stomach.
And whirlpools started whirling around in my ears.
And my brain went all fizzy, like it was going to explode into a gazillion trillion pieces.
So I swapped places in the line with Zoe. And then with Cordelia. And then with all the other Barracudas who hadn’t had a go yet.
Filled with doodles, drawings and the occasional poem, this is a light and humorous look at just how hard primary school can be. Ella has a delightful and entertaining voice and the intimacy of the diary text comes off naturally.
A popular series already, Ella Diaries is similar in feel to the well-known and loved series for boys, Tom Gates.