Thursday 12 September 2019

The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World

The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World by Petra James, illustrated by Anna Zobel (Puffin) RRP PB $16.99 ISBN 9780143793670

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Izzy Winkle is a 10-year-old girl with big dreams. She is longing to find her talent and become great at something. She considers her best friend Katie a genius and is aware that Mozart was eight when he wrote his first symphony, so she believes she’s falling behind in her quest already.

When a competition flyer falls from a hot air balloon through her window and onto her bed, Izzy believes it’s fate and she has to enter. The competition aims to find The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World. To prepare for the competition Izzy turns to Katie, who is smart and resourceful. Katie then points out the obvious problem… Izzy is 100% grateful and comes from a kind family with great manners. Undeterred, Izzy tells herself that she just has to do the opposite of what she normally does. Easy! Determined to win, Izzy and Katie seek help from a coach - Horace Unthank, a Professor of Bad Manners and Appalling Behaviour.

In the process of becoming ungrateful, Izzy discovers that people and events are not as they seem. She soon becomes tangled in a web of deception and lies and is approached to complete a secret mission. Izzy’s plan to win the competition remains but her motives drastically change.

The Most Ungrateful Girl in the World is a fun middle grade fiction novel written in the first person. It has monochrome illustrations scattered throughout the book; a combination of single page images and vignettes. The book would be suited to children aged 8+ who enjoy a little mischief. The story is about friendship, gratitude (and lack of!) and being yourself… which is naturally a bit of both good and bad.

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