This series has just been pure joy from the very first word with each new story building on the warmth, friendship and community of Zola’s neighbourhood. Now that we have finished the entire week with Zola I feel quite sad but I’m hopeful that Melina might take Zola and her friends, not to mention her mishaps, on a longer journey for us. I’m going to sit back and wait for What Zola Did in January now *grin*.
The climax of the entire series is the St Odo’s fete where so much that has featured along the way all comes together: the knitting, gardening, pets, music and baking as well as the entire cast of charming characters.
Of course, it was to be expected that Zola would once again be in the middle of a muddle and when she doesn’t quite manage to hold onto Tim Tam the cat in the face of excitable dogs before the Pet Parade starts, there is quite the calamity. But, despite the kerfuffle, the fete still manages to be a huge success and the funds raised by this caring community give everyone much satisfaction – particularly as their efforts will support the homeless, which gives the reader pause for reflection when one thinks about these happy families in their homes. Throughout the entire series, the opportunities for meaningful discussion and action learning have been plentiful, all the while without being ‘preachy’.
I feel sure you must have caught onto these sweet books for your newly independent readers by now – but just in case somehow you have overlooked them, do yourself and your little peeps a big favour and put them on your order list.
Highly recommended for readers from around 6 upwards.
I don’t know about you but I am getting incredibly fond of Zola and her neighbourhood. This little series is just truly delightful and I know that little readers must love being able to make connections with their own family, friends, schools and communities.
Boomerang St has been very busy with the gardening, knitting, new neighbours and playmates and now there is a new adventure for Zola, Alessandro and their new friends when Sophia’s turtle goes missing. It’s a real mystery but also lucky that one of Leo’s mums is a police officer and introduces them to her police dog, Vesper. Of course, as we know, Zola loves to help others but has an uncanny knack of finding trouble when she does and her plan, inspired by meeting PD Vesper, is to put Alessandro’s dog, Gigi, on the case of finding the lost turtle. Big mistake! Gigi takes off and a mad chase ensues until she is re-captured. Despite the problems, Turtle is found but the children all re-learn a very valuable lesson about crossing streets and running off unsupervised.
Naturally there is a happy outcome for all and especially so when one more community activity begins – the children and their various dogs are all invited to do some dog training with PD Vesper and Leo’s mum at the neighbourhood park.
Another super instalment in Marchetta’s new series – it’s almost sad already thinking about the end of the week!! Your newly independent readers both boys and girls will just adore these stories and they would make fabulous read-alouds for either classroom teachers or teacher-librarians paired with some activities and action plans.
Highly recommended for little readers from around six years upwards.
This is certainly a departure from Looking for Alibrandi and Melina’s other novels for YA but what an absolute joy it is! From start to finish it ticks every box I love!
Zola lives with her mum and Nonna Rosa in a little house in the suburbs, with her cousin and bestie, Alessandro, living directly behind. Before the two lost their Nonno Nino, he cut a gate into the back fence so they could spend as much time together as possible – whenever Alessandro is not at his dad’s place.
Everyone in the neighbourhood loves their beautiful front garden filled with flowers and Nonna Rosa loves the backyard with its vegetable garden even more. But although Zola loves flowers she certainly does not like gardening!
At school her Year 2 class are temporarily housed across the road from the school, which is being renovated, within the grounds of the much-neglected community garden. Zola’s teacher Ms Divis is keen on gardens, community and sustainability – the perfect combination to inspire her little charges to take on the project of rejuvenating the community garden as well as investigating their neighbourhood’s local history.
Zola does have a knack for finding herself in sticky situations like leaving the back-fence gate open so that Alessandro’s naughty dog causes destruction in the backyard and even worse, ruining the newly planted special seeds Nonna Rosa had saved, given to her by Nonno Nino. But luckily she is also a smart little cookie who can come up with a solution to her various little problems.
This is about so much more than the very important theme of growing our own food (itself so timely at present) and being attuned with nature, it’s about re-connecting with community and sharing care, compassion and concern. There is a rich diversity in families with single parents, same-sex parents, multi-generational families and different cultures.
Thankfully it’s the first in a series – one for each day of the week – so there is more joy to come. Perfect for newly independent readers or for class or home read-alouds, I highly recommend this for little humans from around 6 years upwards.