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Ella Diaries: Dolphin Dreaming by Meredith Costain, Danielle McDonald

Title: Ella Diaries: Dolphin Dreaming

Author: Meredith Costain, Danielle McDonald

Genre: Contemporary

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st April 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 144

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: Warning: You are about to read my utterly biggest secrets. Can I trust you? Okay, this is my diary.

Ella has always dreamed of seeing a dolphin in the wild. When she and Zoe go to Misty Point, it looks like her dream might actually come true. Their days are filled with ice-cream, boat trips, and beach clean ups. But when Ella and her friends find a baby seal in danger, things don’t seem so perfect anymore. Can they help to save it?

~*~

Ella is off on holidays with her best friend, Zoe. They’re off to Misty Cove, where they hope to see dolphins on a special dolphin cruise, and they’ve been busy cleaning up the beach in between swimming and eating ice-creams. During the big clean-up day, they find an injured baby seal – and they begin to feel things aren’t so great – but Ella and Zoe have plans up their sleeves to make sure they help the seal – and maybe they will eventually get to see dolphins!

The latest in the Ella Diaries series is magical and filled with fun as Ella heads off on a special seaside holiday with her best friend and hopes to fulfil her dolphin dreams. The story is told in a diary format in great ten-year-old exuberance, with Ella’s unique way of phrasing her excitement and joy through her words and the way she uses them in her diary and with Zoe and their new friend, Mia. The story is driven by Ella, Zoe, and Mia, and I loved that it gives us a nice insight into Ella, what she likes, and how she reacts to the world around her in a great way for middle grade readers and gives a nice steppingstone from Ella and Olivia to Ella at Eden.

It is the first Ella Diaries book I have read, so I get the sense that it is a series that one can pick up at any point, and choose whichever of the current twenty-four books appeal to them – this one appealed to me because of the dolphins, and I’m hoping to look into reading some more, I just have to decide which ones I want to try, as I’ve read quite a few of Ella’s stories across all the age groups and readerships she has books for, and she is one of my favourite contemporary characters in Australian literature.

Whilst the Ella books – Meet Ella, Ella and Olivia, Ella Diaries and Ella at Eden – are likely aimed at girls. I think there will be fans of all kinds who are drawn to Ella. As an adult, I find her books a place of joy amidst all the other reading I do, and have read her stories for pleasure and review, and to write quizzes on. They’re the kind of books that I can read quickly or take my time with, and just lose myself in the fun and adventure that Ella takes her readers on. Books like this are perfect for any time, and like most books, can take us on a special journey and trip when we’re not travelling anywhere or are staying at home. I love that Ella is growing up throughout these books, and we get to see her at different stages of childhood, making her journey accessible as her audience can grow with her into early teenagerhood. I wonder what Ella’s next diary will be about!

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