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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Juno Jones Mystery Writer by Kate Gordon

With illustrations by Sandy Flett

Juno Jones, Mystery Writer is a non-stop, mind-boggling escapade where you’re never quite sure if events are real or imagined and nothing is what it seems. Juno Jones is a spirited girl ninja with a love of words and a talent for spotting adventures. When the Alien Lizard Men show up at Muttonbird Bay Primary, Juno knows something is amiss. If Juno doesn’t keep reading, even boring books about killer pumpkins which sound interesting but turn out not to be very interesting at all (and Juno would prefer if the princesses in stories ate frogs instead of kissed them), then Muttonbird Bay Primary will be closed forever. Her best friend Shy Vi is missing. Her teacher is acting strangely, not even getting angry! Luckily Juno’s made a new friend – the shy Paloma who is good at reading Shakespeare and secretly wants to be an actress.

This is the second instalment of the adventures of Juno Jones, following Juno Jones: Word Ninja. Readers will remember their favourite characters: Genius George and Shi Vi and Perfect Paloma and Smelly Bella. But new readers shouldn’t hold back. Juno likes to keep things fresh and interesting. She’s going to write books one day and she needs all the fans she can get.

Like her heroine, Tasmanian author Kate Gordon creates an exciting new style of storytelling. It is relentlessly paced, unbelievable at times, and as spunky as Juno. Kate might even be on board with Juno’s master plan to become a writer and create books for kids who don’t like to read. Gordon makes Muttonbird Bay Primary School a place where the impossible can become real. Juno successfully sends a destructively-inclined cyclops back to Ancient Greece by simply embarrassing him when she reminds him he’s actually in the wrong period. Readers have to pay attention to make sure that they can keep up with what is going on. Especially as Juno’s mind works a bit like a boomerang – it travels far, far away before coming back to what she was originally thinking about. Young readers will love that Juno Jones is set in a primary school. It will encourage them to expand their imaginations, starting with what is around them.

Sandy Flett’s illustrations are perfectly complementary to this wild tale. They are fun, quirky, and with a dynamic that might make readers think of Quentin Blake.

Five stars.

Reviewer: Susannah Whaley

Yellow Brick Books, RRP $12.99


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