Friday 3 November 2023

Busy Betty & the Circus Surprise

Busy Betty & the Circus Surprise by Reese Witherspoon, illustrated by Xindi Yan (Penguin Random House) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN: 9781761047510

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Busy Betty wakes up each day with ‘a MILLION questions and a BILLION ideas’. And today she’s had her best idea yet – creating a circus for her mum’s birthday. Along with her friends Jeffrey and Mae, Betty crafts costumes and applies make-up and erects a tablecloth tent – she even transforms her dog into a roaring lion. Then she discovers that her mum’s birthday is the following month. Not to worry – Betty decides to invite the whole neighbourhood to her ‘backyard circus’.

Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon’s bright and bubbly book is ideal for kids aged five to nine. Betty overcomes obstacles thanks to her big ideas, pivoting with excitement and enthusiasm when her plans don’t pan out. This never-give-up attitude is resilience at its best, and encourages youngsters as they take their first hesitant steps into the world.

Xindi Yan’s colourful cartoon-like illustrations will appeal to children, especially the energetic characterisation of Betty. Enormous, round, magenta-rimmed glasses draw readers towards Betty’s expressive eyes, where kids will see every emotion that flits through her bustling mind.

Busy Betty & the Circus Surprise sweeps readers along to the sweet and spirited end. Along the way, they’ll discover the importance of adaptability – especially when the show must go on.

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