Thursday 19 January 2023

Willa and Woof: Grandparents for Hire

Willa and Woof: Grandparents for Hire by Jacqueline Harvey, illustrated by A. Yi (Penguin Random House) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN: 9781761043338

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Willa has a lot on her plate. Her principal, Mr Newton, has announced that the school will be hosting Grandparents’ Day the following week – but Willa’s grandparents are on holiday. Her Irish wolfhound, Woof, has started running away from home, and the residents of the nearby Sunset Views Retirement Village – who all love visits from Woof – are in danger of losing their weekly outings due to budget cutbacks. Can Willa come up with a clever plan to help everyone and ensure that Grandparents’ Day is a triumph?

The third book in the Willa and Woof junior fiction series, Grandparents for Hire is aimed at six- to nine-year-olds who adore diving into stories about doggy disasters, funny friendships and perceptive problem-solving. Jacqueline Harvey’s present-tense text skips along briskly, taking youngsters on a madcap adventure through parks and playgrounds before they reach the sweet conclusion. Willa’s witty asides are sure to keep kids giggling along the way.

A. Yi’s pen-and-ink illustrations break up the chapters for hesitant readers and add a touch of visual humour to the pages. They are perfectly placed to augment rather than overwhelm the text.

Willa and Woof: Grandparents for Hire shows that thinking outside the box can deliver unique and satisfying rewards. And the intergenerational relationships in the book will inspire and delight kids in equal measure.

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