Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: The Flip Flop Club: Charmed Summer by Ellen Richardson

The Flip Flop Club: Charmed Summer by Ellen Richardson (April 2012, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0192756613)

Notes: Instead of a theme for the children's reading group meeting at the beginning of the summer holidays I selected a variety of new and summery reads. This one had been on my radar for a while because of its gorgeous cover so I was fortunate the library had it in stock in time.

Review: Charmed Summer is the first book in the Flip Flop Club series set on Sunday Island. Elly is sent to the Island to stay with her late-mother's sister for the summer holidays. Elly is bored and wants to go back to London until a mysterious note on her bed invites her to a secret meting at midnight. Unable to resist the challenge she sneaks out and along the way meets Sierra, who also has a note and finally they meet their inviter, Tash and her dog Mojo.

The girls form instant friendships and the summer on what the locals call Mystery Island promises to be a lot more exciting, especially when the girls find that they're connected by the past. A past with a present mystery to solve.

This is a charming opener to a series, which sets up the location and the three girls' histories and personalities. The mystery they have to solve revolves around friendships and trust but they have a lot of outdoor fun too with swimming, climbing and even a perilous trip on a home-made raft. The girls have a den too (!) and pass notes via the intelligent Mojo.

The Flip Flop Club series is aimed at girls (9+); two of the three main characters are outdoorsy and the third is a champion swimmer with a passion for fashion and a slight tendency to scream when frightened.

As well as Charmed Summer (177 pages) the book contains a sample from book two Whale Song, a quiz to see which character you're most like, a wordsearch, recipes and advice on jazzing up your flip-flops. There is a second quiz to give you a secret password to access additional material on the website.

Thematically similar is Helen Moss's Adventure Island series which is aimed at a slightly older readership than the Flip Flop Club series and has two boys (incomers) and a local girl (and her dog) as its lead characters.

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