Shamini Flint (text), Sally Heinrich (illus.), Game Changer! (The Susie K Files #2), Allen & Unwin, 2 Jan 2018, 112pp., $9.99 (pbk) ISBN: 9781760296698
Game Changer! is the second installment of the Susie K Files, a fresh new series from popular author Shamini Flint.
Susie K is a clever, introverted child with a truly awesome skill: problem solving!
Despite Susie’s academic successes, especially in science, her mother’s unrealistically high expectations are an ongoing challenge for her misfit daughter.
‘You see, Mum was a refugee from Sri Lanka. And because she never had much when she was a child, she just wants what’s best for me.
How can I complain about being RUBBISH at running when she had to run for her life from soldiers??’
Although Susie understands where her highly-strung mother is coming from, this doesn’t spare her from the unrelenting pressure to avoid hurting or disappointing her loved one. Unlike her seldom harassed, laid-back brother, Susie finds that she must be good at basically anything and everything.
Luckily for Susie she is both self-confident and resourceful, treating her mother’s latest obsession (wanting Susie to become a sports day champion) as a problem to be solved by way of a well thought out and strategic plan.
‘A good problem solver doesn’t abandon the problem just because the first few solutions were duds.’
A great role model, the nerdy Susie K character is bound to enthrall young readers; as well as being a quirky non-conformist, she reveals herself to be a resilient, funny, and extremely good-natured person.
The story is presented in an easy to read, comic style with Sally Heinrich’s fabulously dynamic illustrations telling much of the story through sketches and accompanying speech bubble dialogue. This is a great choice for reluctant readers and fans of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Parents and educators may find this title’s creative problem-solving theme particularly appealing as the narrative offers a fine example of how calm, analytical thinking can be used outside the classroom or science lab to generate a suitable solution to even the most challenging everyday issues.
This title has plenty of comic spoof for parents to enjoy and is packed full of inventive ideas. It’s certain to have widespread popularity amongst primary age children.
Reviewed by Lisa Mercer