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

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Review: Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival

The Aussie Kids series for emerging readers is a brilliant new eight-book collection for kids starting their junior fiction journey.

Each book features a new character living in a unique Australian location across our states and territories. 

In the Australian Capital Territory (or the ACT), we meet Matilda. She’s going to a festival at the Japanese Embassy to celebrate the Emperor of Japan’s birthday.  

It’s going to be a fun day because Matilda’s good friend Hansuke lives at the embassy. But it’s also marked with sadness as Hansuke is returning to Japan.

This is a brilliant book about kid life in Australia. Author Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern has masterfully peppered interesting facts about Canberra throughout the book, providing kids with fun information about the nation’s capital, while delivering a fun and engaging story filled with emotion and heart. 

With a beautiful surprise ending and a splash of mystery, it’s a perfect book for emerging readers to jump into. The large text and short chapters are very helpful, and the careful word selection and story construction are designed to support new readers.

The cover of the book features a stunning violety-purple, and award-winning illustrator Tania McCartney repeats this colour throughout the gorgeous illustrations, with black, white and purple pictures on almost every page. 

McCartney really brings the characters to life in this book. You'll feel all the feels as you explore the emotion conveyed in their faces. It's simply magic, and it adds so much to the story. There are also glorious Canberra locations and special details throughout the book, creating a lovely sense of nostalgia for readers of all ages.

At the back of the book you’ll find a list of more fun facts about Australia's capital, and you’ll get to learn a little about the book's creators. Each book in this series has a different author and illustrator, so this is a lovely addition for readers as they make their way through the series.

Kids from the capital will love reading this book and recognising familiar Canberra features, and non-locals will love learning about a state they might never have visited. Filled with joy and charm, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Matilda at the festival, and I’m looking forward to meeting the other Aussie kids, too.

For more books by Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern, make sure you check out Charlie's Adventures in Hawaii. To sample more glorious illustrations (and stunning words, too!) from Tania McCartney, explore the Evie and Pog series, I heart the World, Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather and Fauna: Australia's Most Curious Creatures.

Title: Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival
Author: Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern
Illustrator: Tania McCartney
Publisher: Puffin, $12.99  
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760894511
For ages: 6 - 9
Type: Junior Fiction