Saturday 23 March 2024

Amanda Commander: The Blues Day Tuesday

Amanda Commander: The Blues Day Tuesday by Coral Vass and Heidi Cooper Smith (Wombat Books) PB RRP $12.99 ISBN: 9781761111174

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

Amanda Caomhanach – aka Amanda Commander because no-one can say her last name – and her friends Mai and Lu are back at it again in the fourth Amanda Commander book, The Blues Day Tuesday. Once again, they’re noticing when things aren’t quite right at school, and then working to do something about it.

This time, Amanda notices one of her classmates, Rosie, seems very left out after she returns to school following a few days away, sick. Not only does Rosie have to do her volcano poster by herself because everyone else is already paired up, but her usual group of friends seem to have forgotten she exists.

After a little bit of planning, Amanda, Mai and Lu – the Dolphin Squad – swing into action, making sure Rosie feels included again. Then more students start getting sick and needing days off, which keeps the squad busy until, suddenly, Amanda finds herself at home with a cold.

Surely, when Amanda returns to school, she won’t be left out – or will she? And what will have when Eve Kelly – Miss Popular – has a few days off?

If Amanda Commander: The Blues Day Tuesday had been around when I was in primary school, I know it would have really resonated with me because I was always super uncomfortable going back to school after a few days off … but I’d always thought it was a ‘me thing’. Turns out, it wasn’t. And still isn’t. As I read, I found myself wishing there had been an Amanda Commander and a Dolphin Squad at my school!

Coral Vass has crafted an immediately relatable story that is supplemented by Heidi Cooper Smith’s often poignant illustrations to bring forward a very real problem faced by most children at some point – being left out or feeling like they’re on the outer.

The Blues Day Tuesday is the perfect book for beginning readers, who are ready to move on to ‘chapter books’ and read independently. With its themes of kindness, friendship and inclusivity, it’s also an ideal ‘shared read’ for children aged 4–7 years with their parent or teacher as it is sure to inspire deeper conversations, reflections, problem-solving and personal connections.

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