Hello Diary. My name’s Ella and
Once upon a time there was a girl called Ella. She lived
How are you supposed to start a diary? I’ve never had one before. Mum and Dad gave me this one for Christmas because
a) I like writing. I’m always writing stories and they love the poems I make up for their birthdays and other special days.
b) They think I have a good imagination and they think writing something every day is a good way to ‘exercise’ it.
c) I’m going into Grade 5 this year (starting tomorrow!) and Dad says Grade 5 was the best year of his life.
Ella starts Grade 5 with high hopes, but from the beginning her first day is disastrous. It begins with the no-show of her best friend Zoe, and goes downhill as everyone else sits at the classroom tables in pairs. Only Ella is alone. And just when she thinks this is the worst thing that can happen, the door opens and in comes mean girl, Peach, who isn’t even supposed to be in this class. Of course, she sits in the only spare chair – on Ella’s table. As the days and weeks pass, Ella records her life both in and beyond school. Peach continues to cause trouble. Ella’s diary is written in a handwriting font and includes ‘hand-drawn’ images and words picked out in red. There are also crossed out spelling mistakes and phrases. Ella includes some of her poems. At the end there is room for readers to make their own diary entry, write their own poem and draw their own picture. There’s also a sneak-peek of ‘Ballet Back-flip’, the next title in the ‘Ella Diaries’ series. Cover art includes ‘doodles’ that give hints about some of the adventures within.
‘Ella Diaries’ is a new series for mid-primary readers, primarily girls. Double Dare You begins with the new school year and establishes the characters and the world Ella occupies. Ella is a bright, energetic student who displays a positive outlook on most of her world (with the exception of her relationship with bully Peach). She is a leader, a supportive friend and keen to learn. Young readers will recognise characters from their own classroom, the good and the less so. When Ella has to make a decision about whether or not to do a dare, or in this case, a double-dare, she thinks about what it would be like to be the victim. Double Dare You lets the reader peek into Ella’s innermost thoughts, fears and enthusiasms. Recommended for mid-primary readers.
Ella Diaries 1: Double Dare You , Meredith Costain ill Danielle McDonald
Scholastic Australia 2015 ISBN: 9781743628638
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller