What’s it like to live with a four year old who thinks she’s a rock star? Who’s the naughtiest little sister ever? Big sister Kate knows. A PROBLEM!
Emma Barnes has begun what will surely be a memorable new series. Wild Thing – aka Josephine - is the worst kind of embarrassing, attention-grabbing, self-absorbed loud-mouthed little sister that anyone could have. Kate can just about put up with Wild Thing at home. Kate’s got used to Wild Thing’s messiness, her monkeying-about, the trips to the hospital because she’s pushed something up right up her Wild Thing nose, her favourite Bite-the-Bottom Game and more.
However, when Kate realises that Wild Thing is starting in the reception class at Kate’s school, she knows her life will be a total nightmare.
Kate is soon dragged into the spotlight by her dreadful little sister’s escapades, when all she wants is a quiet school life - not the kind where Wild Thing causes mayhem at playtimes, refuses to sit down in class, plays air-guitar and sings out rude words whenever she feels like it! Poor Kate secretly longs to create her own identity. Who is she is when she’s not just Wild Thing’s big sister?
Told in Kate’s first person voice, gradually two strands of story emerge and this is what makes the book unique. One strand, of course, is created by Wild Thing’s constant escapades that ruin almost everything for Kate.
The other interesting strand in WILD THING is the family situation, which partly explains why things are as they are, and why Wild Thing is a little indulged.
We soon find out that the girls are looked after by their dad, a charming, guitar-playing late hippy who has given up touring to care for his two daughters. Then we notice that Gran is often around to restore the chaotic house to some kind of calm order and remind Dad about events in the school diary and so on, and then we find out that their mother is dead. So the story, although softly told, is also about a bereaved family struggling to keep “normal life” going.
For me, this second thread is what makes WILD THING – and probably the titles yet to come – much more than a book that gets 8 year-old children laughing because they enjoy reading about rude words and naughtiness. And that's important.
Wild Thing is published by Scholastic.
Review by Penny Dolan
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