BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Polka Dot Shop
Author: Laurel Remington
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: July 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 5-6+
The Polka Dot Shop was for me a very enjoyable read, exploring themes of friendship, family, mental health and valuing entrepreneurialism among young people.
13-year-old Andy is the only pupil in her school who is not keen on the new no-uniform policy. While her classmates talk endlessly about fashion and look forward to weekend shopping sprees, Andy has to wear pre-loved clothes that come from her mum’s run-down vintage boutique.
The chasm between Andy and her mum widens, as Andy grows increasingly frustrated by the tatty second hand clothes she owns but does not wish to hurt her mum’s feelings. At the same time, Andy’s mum seems increasingly distant and the boutique appears to be struggling more than ever.
One day, Andy finds a bag of high quality designer clothes at the back of the shop and suddenly she spots an appealing outfit and begins to see a renewed potential in the pre-used fashion business. But in order for her plans to come to fruition, Andy will need a little help from her friends, a dose of business acumen and huge amounts of determination to find a way to transform the boutique and keep everyone happy along the way. Andy and her mum also need to find a way to bridge their growing divide by beginning to see things from each other’s perspectives, which is not an easy journey for either of them.
I really enjoyed the way that young entrepreneurialism was presented so positively in this story. Despite being told time and time again that she is “only 13”, Andy finds a way to bring a new lease of life to a dying business and transforms it using her own creative flair. She makes mistakes along the way and learns from them, which is a vital part to growing a business, and she wisely seeks advice of other people to make sure her plans succeed. To young readers, stories like this are a huge encouragement to believe in their instincts and pursue their dreams.
There is a lot of warmth in Laurel Remington’s writing and the characters are hugely relatable with realistic relationships portrayed, plus a hint of budding romance. This book is suitable for upper KS2+.
Many thanks to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.