Ava Anne Appleton Up and Away by Wendy Harmer
Published by Scholastic Australia
Wendy Harmer, comedian turned children’s writer brings to life the gentle adventures of Ava Anne Appleton and her little dog Angus as they travel around Australia. Up and Away is the second installment in the Ava Anne Appleton series, and our little heroine is beginning to enjoy life on the road. Young readers will be enchanted as they take a peak inside the Appleton’s house on wheel – the Adventurer.
The simple black and white illustrations are complimented by concise descriptions of the world through Ava’s eyes, so the young reader can let their imagination be carried along on the travelling adventure.
The story begins with Ava and her parents taking a hair-raising (according to Ava) trip up a steep mountain side. At the mountains peak the family stop to enjoy the breath taking view, but Ava is crippled by her greatest fear – heights! Will Ava learn to conquer her fear before the stories end?
Before Ava can face her vertigo demons, the family enjoys a visit to a local historical homestead – Kardinya.
Ava pokes around the delightful old homestead and is fortunate enough to meet another little girl who is also travelling around Australia with her family. Ava and Bonnie strike an immediate alliance, realizing they have so much in common it is a wonder they have not met till now.
The girls and their furry friends enjoy an idyllic afternoon flying kites in the vast paddocks of Kardinya. However, a ferocious storm sends the families scuttling away eager to set up camp for the night.
As fate would have it Bonnie and her family end up seeking shelter in the Adventurer on this stormy night. A night of laughter and friendship is shared and Ava’s confidence is bolstered about her life on the road.
The next morning the girl’s parents have a grand surprise awaiting the new best friends. But can Ava conquer her greatest fear to enjoy this most unique surprise that will take her up and away?
I found Up and Away a delightful book to read with my just turned seven year old daughter. It was a wonderful boost for her reading confidence with the large print, and by reading it aloud together I could prompt her on any long unfamiliar words.
CKT Book Reviewer
Underlying Up and Away is a message of confidence, Ava must have confidence to enjoy the new experiences unfolding around her. Not just a pleasant read, I think the Ava Anne Appleton series could be used as a learning tool - teaching young girls confidence and resilience. A charming book for a confident reader to enjoy on her own or an emerging reader to share with an adult.
Author: Wendy Harmer
Title: Ava Anne Appleton Up and Away
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: February 2014