Midmost Marvin by Callan Goodall
Marvin is decidedly average. He is mediocre at best and never stands out from the crowd. He has one great love, skateboarding. That is, until one day a new girl arrives in town. Millie is everything Marvin is not - she is cool, sassy and adventurous.
Desperate for her to notice him, Marvin creates a dashing new look and comes up with a daredevil plan to make her notice him.
Things don't quite go to plan though and Marvin proves you don't have to be extraordinary to stand out.
This funny and fast-paced book tells the story of relatable characters using a catchy rhyme and rhythm. Author Callan Goodall, from Invercargill, has spent all his working life in education and it shows. He understands what makes a good book and what will appeal to children. The characters are relatable, using stereotypes to convey personalities we all know. The use of skateboarding is quite unique, and appeals to all children.
He also understands what the special something it takes to make a book interesting to read aloud. It is a very catchy rhythm and rhyme, and allows for plenty of expression if reading aloud.
There's plenty of alliteration and similes too, as well as interesting words. These are the words that are perhaps unknown to most children - think meek, sassy, riotous. By hearing and reading these writing conventions and words, Goodall gives children both the knowledge and inspiration to use it in their writing, thereby increasing overall literacy skills. I can definitely see this book being used in a writing exercise in a classroom as children begin to unpack and identify these types of figurative language.
Midmost Marvin is full of quirky illustrations from cartoonist Shaun Yeo. His illustrations are a perfect match for the story, with lots of exaggerated expression and detail.
The story also has a great little lesson, that we should be true to ourselves. While Goodall uses a love interest to convey that moral, it's age-appropriate and younger readers will recognise that childhood crush feeling.
Midmost Marvin is a fantastic debut from a writer that really understands the value and importance of books.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell
Bateman Books, RRP $24.99