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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Fantastic Mr Bean by Mary-anne Scott

Lachie's school is putting on Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl to celebrate Dahl's 100th birthday. But, as we all know, school plays are notoriously full of surprises and this play is no different.

When Lachie's teacher calls for auditions, Lachie is keen to try out for the part of Mr Fox. However, he soon realises that being an actor involves more than just saying the lines, and that sometimes you don't have to be the lead to be the star.

This junior novel by author Mary-anne Scott is a sweet and simple story about a young boy doing the right thing by his peers. Scott is a well-known New Zealand writer, who, once again, does a wonderful job in portraying accurate family dynamics and relationships. Lachie and his big brother Frank have a realistic and relatable relationship - there's lots of joking around and teasing, but the boys also collaborate and co-operate, coming together to show resourcefulness and innovation.

Illustrator Lisa Allen adds her little touches throughout the book. It was especially clever to include illustration of items younger readers may not yet be aware of - an epipen and a bottlebrush branch for example - to aid readers.

The length of the book, and Scott's language which is perfectly pitched for the audience, makes this a great transition book for younger readers wanting to move from picture books to fiction books. Scott really understands these types of readers with Fantastic Mr Bean. It is entertaining and easy to read, with a predictable and uncomplicated story line. The linear plot - which grabs the reader's interest - and a central character they can both relate to and admire, sets junior readers up for success.

Fantastic Mr Bean is a great junior fiction novel to help build younger reader's stamina, strengthen their confidence, while allowing them to develop a sense of themselves as readers.

Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell

One TreeHouse, RRP $20.


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