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Emy's Book Blog

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Kushiel's Dart
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Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Childrens Literature and Film (Children's Literature and Culture)
Victoria Flanagan

Best Friends

Best Friends - Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt Gemma and Alice have been best friends since they were born. They are polar opposites - Gemma likes mess, being rowdy and the colour blue, and Alice likes being neat, quiet and the colour pink - but they still do everything together. Then, disaster strikes. Alice is moving away, far away to Scotland. How will they ever remain best friends forever?

I went to the library yesterday and renewed my expired (for shame!) library card. When I was in the library, I noticed a shelf full of Jacqueline Wilson books and was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I used to be a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan and would read and reread and reread every book she put out. And then, well, I grew up and stopped collecting. I noticed that there were so many of her newer books I hadn't read, so I took some out. What can I say, guilty pleasure?

One of the things I love the most about a Jacqueline Wilson book is how Nick Sharratt does the illustrations. I couldn't imagine a Jacqueline Wilson book with out them! They're simple, amusing and I enjoy the way they are dotted throughout the story. I particularly love how he draws expressions. Great job, Nick!

The characters in Best Friends, though they appear rather simple, actually have different layers to them. For example, Gemma's mum spends most of her time very cross with Gemma, but she can be so lovely when Gemma needs it the most (even when Gemma is still in big trouble). They may be quite simple characters with quite simple motivations, but it is a children's book, so they won't be perhaps as quite as complex as characters in books for older readers. However, they are by no means flat or stereotypical, and I was pleased to find that even without the rose-tinted glasses of childhood.

Biscuits, of Buried Alive and Cliffhanger fame, features heavily in this story. I love that. XD

The plot is relatively simple, but very relatable. Lots of children have had friends move away, so it is nice to have a story that deals with it. The story actually made tears well up in my eyes a couple of times, but I'm not sure if that says more about the writing or me (I'm such a sap).

There was actually a typo in this book - 'dual' instead of 'duel'. Easily done, I suppose, but once seen I couldn't unsee. Oops.

The writing is not amazing, or technically brilliant, but it's solid and it does its job. It uses words children would be able to understand, as well as an occasional word that they would perhaps have to look up. I liked this aspect of the book, as I'm definitely in favour of expanding people's vocabularies! :)

All in all, I really enjoyed the nostalgia this book brought me, and I enjoyed the story too. I was worried that I would not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Jacqueline Wilson in my childhood, but I found that I had nothing to worry about. Sure, it was quite a childish read, but it was fun. :)