Review: Anisha Accidental Detective: School’s Cancelled

Book Title: Anisha Accidental Detective: School’s Cancelled (available here)

Author: Serena Patel

Illustrator: Emma McCann

Publisher: Usborne

Publication Date: September 2020

Most Suitable For: Years 4-6

Reviewer: Julie Bennett

Anisha loves science. It’s her favourite subject and she dreams of being the first child in space. When it is announced that her school is going to host a science fair, and that the first prize is a trip to the National Space Centre, Anisha knows that she has to take part and win.

Together with her friends Milo and Govi, Anisha creates a plan for an erupting volcano. The trio is chosen to represent the school but during a practice session, something goes horribly wrong. The volcano explodes out of control and floods the school. With school cancelled, the friends are accused of causing the damage. Anisha knows that her experiment was set up correctly - so what did go wrong? Determined to clear their names, Anisha sets out to find out just what did happen. Was it an accident, or sabotage?

This is a delightful book celebrating family, friendships and science. Anisha has an extended family that proves to be strong and supportive when things go wrong. Granny Jas in particular is a force of nature who convinces Anisha that she needs a plan to find out just want went wrong with the experiment. Granny also provides a never-ending source of food! Anisha’s friendship with Milo provides the platform for them to investigate the mystery of the explosion, with the help of a rat and a vlogger.

Science lies at the heart of the story. It is refreshing to see a celebration of children enjoying science at school and wanting to learn more about the world around them. There are authentic cultural references exploring Anisha's Indian heritage, particularly around food and family, along with footnotes explaining some of Granny’s cuisine and footwear.

The illustrations by Emma McCann help to reflect the humour in the story and the text is often broken up with lists and diagrams, making the book particularly appealing to children who may be daunted when faced with full pages of text.

This is the second book in the Anisha Accidental Detective series but also works well as a stand-alone read.


You can order Anisha Accidental Detective online or from an independent bookshop.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.

Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

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