The trip is long and boring. I feel myself drifting into a daydream.
Jack has just started at a new school and he’s a little apprehensive. His first attempts to make friends and to fit in are a bit rocky, but he’s soon making people laugh and seems to be settling in. There’s only one boy, Mark, who doesn’t think Jack is funny. No matter what Jack does, Mark seems determined not to like him. It’s going to be a big first day. Colour illustrations appear on every opening, and there are headers and footers reflecting elements of a school day.
‘One More Friend’ is part of the ‘Mates’ series from Omnibus Books. Each title offers a particularly Australian story, full of humour. Jack is a relatable character, his early nervousness manifesting in a certain clumsiness. This makes others laugh at him, but soon he’s realised he can make them laugh with him. Only Mark doesn’t laugh, and it takes a while for Jack to realise why. Rather than laugh at Mark, Jack quietly helps him and in the process makes another friend. This is a realistic depiction of school life as it should be, with characters having the insight to look behind bullying behaviour to see the world from the perspective of the bully. Go Jack! Recommended for newly-independent readers.
One More Friend, Bill Condon ill Lucinda Gifford
Omnibus Books 2016 ISBN: 9781742991184
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller