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- author Jackie French

Friday 25 May 2018

Review: The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery

After her success in The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, India Wimple is invited to London to take part in the international spelling finals. 

The Wimples go everywhere together, so the issue of how to find fares for the rest of the family is a concern. That’s not the only challenge. Boo’s asthma and his safety has to be taken into account. Where there is a will, the Wimples will work out a way. But this time, Boo’s independence is the motivator for getting this problem solved surreptitiously.

London holds many surprises for the Wimple family. The shy India meets up again with Rajish and the rich and confident Summer. Peter and Holly who are drawn into the circle of friends, have powerful reasons for wanting to win, although deep personal issues, more than their abilities, hinder their progress. But what are friends for if not to encourage and lift sunken spirits?

When mysterious incidents threaten to jeopardize the finals, the group sets out to discover who is involved and why, in order to get the competition back on track.

Apart from touring Buckingham Palace and meeting the Queen, lasting friendships are formed between the five contestants. Each of them learns things about themselves that change their life path. Although all are determined to take home the prize, each leaves with something far more valuable.

Themes of friendship, confidence and self-belief, encouragement and overcoming insecurities, are the building blocks of this excellent, well-crafted middle grade novel. The fantastic characters sparkle with individual characteristics that endear them to the reader. Subtle emphasis is given to the importance of learning language and knowing how to use it well, which is what Deborah Abela has done with finesse.

Title: The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery
Author: Deborah Abela
Publication Date: April 30 2018, $14.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978043786689
For ages: 8 - 12
Type: Middle Fiction