25 September 2023

Coco Banjo and the Super Wow Surprise

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By N.J. Gemmell, Random House, $14.99.

This is such an apt description of Coco Banjo. “She is wayward, daring, bold and impulsive. When it comes to restoring fairness, no challenge is too great and no solution too outrageous.”

Written and illustrated by Nikki Gemmell, the Coco Banjo series came about at the instigation of her seven-year-old daughter who wanted a book like Dork Diaries that was set in Australia and was for, and about, children like her.

Aimed at children seven years and older, Coco books are cartoon illustrated, have humour and are about schoolgirls and friendship.

This time round, it’s a hooray for endless summer days filled with surprises!

As it’s the holidays, the time is right for glorious summer days and fun with friends. It means fun with her best friend, playing with animals, and – perhaps most exciting of all – time with her mother, Clem.

Is that really going to be the case? Clem is the most super-fabulous busy mum of them all, and she is still working around the world. However, she arranges the best surprises, and Coco is excited by a special delivery that arrives in a rattling, yelping box.

One surprise is in a box delivered by Coco’s best friend. The next surprise is an invention called the Skip Back Machine. What does it do? The biggest surprise is tickets to a concert by Coco’s favourite pop star, Prince Louis!

Of course, school holidays aren’t all beaches and hair braiding. A big decision has to be made and it will take the biggest, bravest heart to make it. The third in the Coco Banjo series is full of the verve, humour and the heart this beginner reader series is known for.

It will pep you up and you’ll become rejuvenated about life.

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