Thursday, May 01, 2008

Children’s Books: Sunny Side Up by Marion Roberts

Sunny Side Up (Allen & Unwin) is Marion Roberts’ first novel. It is gentle and humorous and sad all at once. For me, personally, it has the added pleasure of being set in the Melbourne suburb where I live. I recognize the places described and can assure you that they’re real, as are some of the shops mentioned.

Eleven-year-old Sunday -- mostly known as “Sunny” -- lives with her mother and their dog Willow in a seaside suburb of Melbourne. Every Friday, she and her friend Claud -- short for Claudia -- make pizza and deliver it to regular customers. Not just any pizza, of course -- gourmet pizza! Their business, Pizza-A-Go-Girl, is doing well and has just expanded to include deliveries to the uncle of that awful Buster Conroy.

Now Claud seems to be making friends with Buster, Sunny’s mother has announced that her boyfriend and his children are moving in (Ouch! Brady Bunch stuff!) and Mum still won’t tell her why she isn’t talking to her own mother, Granny Carmelene, who has just sent her first Christmas gift in years.

With all the other stuff happening, Sunny decides to visit her grandmother and, hopefully, discover what’s going on. She doesn’t find out immediately, but she does find out why Granny Carmelene has made contact after all these years and it’s rather poignant. By the end of the book, we find out Buster’s problems and he becomes another friend.

This is well worth a read and should suit children in late primary school or early secondary. Marion Roberts should do very well as a children’s writer and I look forward to reading more of her work.

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