'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Review: What Zola Did on Monday

A beautiful big family, cousins living in the house behind you, a hole in the fence for you to climb through and play. A beautiful street, a community of people you love… a neglected garden that everyone has forgotten.

These are the things that make up Melina Marchetta’s new junior fiction novel What Zola Did on Monday.

Zola lives with her Mum and her Nonna. Her cousin Alessandro lives in the house behind her. She likes to play and go to school and have fun. She’s happy and lively but sometimes she gets into trouble. Sometimes accidents happen… like when she spills her grandfather Nonno Nino’s seeds — the ones he gave to Nonna before he passed away.

Zola needs to find a way to fix things. She needs to save the seeds and make her Nonna happy again.

This is a beautiful junior novel about family and community. And it’s very kid!

Zola is so relatable. She thinks and does just like a young girl. She sees the world like a kid does. Children will read this novel and feel completely connected to Zola. They will get her. And that is something truly magical.

It gives the book so much power. It truly does warm your heart as you read it — I think because we all have families we love, and this story is a reflection of all the little moments and quirks that make a family who it is. And we all can all relate that!

Like all good junior fiction, there are illustrations to be found on the pages. Deb Hudson’s gorgeous illustrations are sprinkled throughout. They help bring Zola to life and will help kids as they start to read independently. The cover gives you a snap shot of what to expect: cute, fun and funky!

What Zola Did on Monday is book one in a series to come, so it’s a brilliant novel for beginning readers to start, knowing there are more of Zola’s adventures coming.

You may also recognise Marchetta’s name. She wrote the classic Australian novel Looking for Alibrandi — another story filled with family and community. Marchetta infuses her stories with these things, sometimes based on people in her world. Her stories are genuine and addictive, and What Zola Did on Monday is no different.

This is a junior fiction series to pay attention to. It’s absolutely stunning!

Title: What Zola Did on Monday
Author: Melina Marchetta
Illustrator: Deb Hudson
Publisher: Penguin, $12.99
Publication Date: 2 June 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760895150
For ages: 7 - 9
Type: Junior Fiction, Illustrated Fiction