BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife (available here)
Author: Maz Evans
Illustrator: Chris Jevons
Publication Date: May2021
Most Suitable for: Years 3-6
Review By: Jacqueline Harris
Scarlett Fife finds many things in life unfair. It is unfair that William U has managed to beat Scarlett’s number of positivity points and so gets to take the class pet hamster, Mr Nibbles, home for the weekend. It is unfair that the new girl has got the part in the school play that she wanted. It is unfair that Mum is so busy working that she sometimes forgets things. The trouble is, that when Scarlett tries to keep her anger inside, other things start to explode, like her teacher’s smoothie. What is going to explode next – and how can Scarlett try to prevent it from happening again?
This is an extremely funny book, and I laughed my way through it. The jokes are great and work on two levels, both for adults and children. Scarlett is a wonderful character and Maz Evans completely captures her point of view and her misreading of some situations. The other characters are delightful and amusing too; Scarlett’s parents, her stepfather, the friends in her class all beautifully created and then brought to life with the illustrations by Chris Jevons.
I really liked to see the representations of children with glasses being the central characters, a parent with a disability, blended families and a diverse cast of characters. It is also good to have a book that deals with big emotions and how they can take over your life and it gives excellent suggestions for how to manage them. Children do get angry and this book helps them recognise the validity of that anger, in a very engaging way.
I am very pleased to learn that there are more Scarlett Fife books coming. I’m quite selective in the sort of books I find funny and this is one of only a handful that has made me guffaw with laughter. I’m passing it onto my daughter, who bears a strong resemblance to Scarlett and the sort of things that make her angry!
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