The Disappearing TV Star, by Emily Rodda

Richelle isn’t always excited when Teenpower Inc take on a new job, but when they are asked to appear in a television advertisement she thinks all her dreams are about to come true. This could be her big chance to get noticed and get her big break in show business.

But as with all of Teenpower’s jobs, nothing goes quite to plan. The star of the commercial is the rich and famous Cassandra Cass.Her over-protective mother is sure she is about to be kidnapped and when Cassandra disappears, it seems she’s right. The police are slow to react, thinking Cassandra has just run away. But Teenpower Inc can sense a mystery and they are soon on the case.

Instead of being one of best experiences of Richelle’s life, this is fast becoming the most terrifying.

The Case of the Disappearing TV Star is the third title in the Raven Hill Mysteries series, based around the exploits of the six teens known collectively as Teen Power Inc. The series first appeared in 1994 under the series title of Teen Power Inc, but is still likely to appeal to young readers – the target age is upper primary.

This series is not as gripping as Rodda’s fantasy series, but is good, solid reading which young mystery fans will enjoy.

The Disappearing TV Star, by Emily Rodda
Scholastic, 2004

It's True! A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down, by Tracey McGuire

Making children’s non-fiction both educational AND entertaining can be a big ask, but Allen & Unwin’s new It’s True! series achieves a balance between the two with aplomb.

The latest offering in the series is A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down. Its title hints at its irreverence and non-traditional approach. The contents of the book do not, however, ignore the serious nature of the subject matter. Bushfires cause massive damge every year and author Tracey McGuire knows first-hand how fierce and traumatic they can be. McGuire’s own family were directly effected by the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983, and these experiences are featured in the book, as are McGuire’s father’s experiences in an earlier fire in 1969 and the experiences of Lucky the Koala in the huge bushfires of January 2003 in Victoria and the ACT.

It is the use of first-person recount that gives the book its edge. We aren’t simply being told about the impact of fire, but rather shown it and being given the opportunity to relive it with those who have experienced it first-hand.

A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is peppered with facts and tips – from how to survive a bushfire, to detailed koala facts, as well as cartoon-style illustrations by the talented Bill Wood, making it user-friendly for primary aged children.

A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down is quality non-fiction reading for primary aged children.

It’s True! A Bushfire Burned My Dunny Down, by Tracey McGuire
Allen & Unwin, 2004