Title: Aussie Kids: Meet Matilda at the Festival
Author: Jacqueline de Rose-Ahern, and Tania McCartney
Published: 1st September 2020
Synopsis: Aussie Kids is an exciting new series for emerging readers 6-8 years.
From a NSW Zoo to a Victorian lighthouse, or an outback sheep farm in WA to a beach in QLD, this junior fiction series celebrates stories about children living in unique places in every state and territory in Australia.
8 characters, 8 stories, 8 authors and illustrators from all 8 states and territories!
Come on an adventure with Aussie Kids and meet Matilda from the ACT.
Hi! I’m Matilda!
Today there’s a festival at the Japanese Embassy. That’s where my friend Hansuke lives. We’ll have lots of fun. But Hansuke is going back to Japan soon. How will I be able to say goodbye?
The final book in this series takes us to Canberra, and the world of embassies and Parliament, seen through the eyes of a child. Matilda is friends with the son of the Japanese Ambassador. But Hansuke is about to move back to Japan, and Matilda must say goodbye to her friend at a special Japanese festival at the embassy. She will miss him forever, and wonders if she can say goodbye.
Most of the other books in this series are told in first person, but this one is told in third person, and has a few days with relevant time jumps to make the passing of time and major plot points work well for kids, and the characters. Like many of the other books in the series, Meet Matilda at the Festival is filled with diverse characters, and celebrates different nationalities and cultures, and the power of friendship. It evokes the same emotions we all had as kids when we had to say goodbye to friends, and the realistic way Matilda reacts will give comfort to kids that they are not alone when they farewell friends or go through changes in their lives.
With this book, the breadth of Australia and its diversity has been represented, and hopefully, all kids will have found something they can relate to in these books, whether its location, culture, race, or the activities the characters enjoy, and the universal feelings we all have linked to friendship and family.
The beauty of these books is in the simple way they evoke emotion and setting for younger readers who are starting to learn to read or reading independently. Whilst we only see a small portion of each state or territory, it is a relevant section to the character and what the setting means to them, which fits in with the theme of the series and what it is aiming to achieve for readers.
A great addition to this series!