31 October: Sydney, Australia. Halloween: the worst possible day to travel
In thirty-two minutes we’re leaving. Supposedly.
I’ve already told Mum and Dad that this whole trip is a so-called Disaster Waiting to Happen, like other Anderson family holidays I could mention. For example, the time Dad made us go camping in the Warrumbungles and it rained the whole time, or the time we got stuck in holiday traffic for five hours on my birthday and I got a stinking McMuffin without even one measly candle for my so-called birthday cake.
Anyway, if Dad doesn’t get off the phone right now and Mum doesn’t get through her list of last-minute jobs, we’ll be last and then this holiday will be a disaster before it’s even started. Because planes don’t wait for you, you know.
I’d better tell them to hurry up.
Anna’s family are off on a trip to Europe, even though the funds had originally been earmarked for house extensions. A mistake on many levels as far as Anna is concerned. Having her own bedroom would have meant peace and no dancing for Anna, and a dance-zone bedroom for her sister Francine. But despite her dire warnings, off to Europe they go. Dad, Mum, Francine and little brother Timmy are all excited and unhearing of her warnings. Anna realises she’s the one who will have to be prepared for the inevitable disasters. She is helped in her quest to keep the family safe by a good-luck charm from Gran. This little seahorse will provide the luck, her backpack full of just-in-case supplies. There are disasters aplenty, some of which Anna is prepared for, others less so.
Holiday of a Lifetime: Disaster Diary is a contemporary tragi-comedy, full of high drama and humour, written in diary form. Anna is a worry wort and the reader is privy to her worst worries, her first person reportage via her diary entries. They also can read between the lines and interpret the responses of her family and others around her more clearly than she can. The dramas and excitements are almost slapstick in their intensity, and will have readers giggling and rolling their eyes. But there is redemption for Anna too, as she discovers that some things she can worry less about, and for others – well her preparation pays off. ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ allows a peek into a family, showing their individual and collective growth, filtered through the eyes of an almost-adolescent. Recommended for upper-mid-primary readers.
Holiday of a Lifetime: Disaster Diary!, Megan de Kantzow Omnibus Books 2013 ISBN: 9781862919983
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author