Meredith Costain (text) and Danielle McDonald (illustrator), Super Science Stars (Olivia’s Secret Scribbles #4), Scholastic Australia, October 2018, 96 pp., RRP $9.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760277093
Super Science Stars is the 4th book in the Olivia’s Secret Scribbles series. I haven’t read the previous books, and I don’t think it matters at all.
Olivia is a typical little girl in Year 2 who squabbles with her older sister, has a best friend named Matilda that she shares everything with, and is super excited about the upcoming school Science Fair. Will she and her friends win first prize for the best experiment of all?
Olivia is unsure about the new girl who joins her class. Bethany has ‘bouncy hair’ and everyone else thinks she has all the best ideas, better than Olivia’s ideas. However, Olivia gradually understands that Bethany can be an ally, and just because some of her ideas are better, doesn’t mean they can’t be friends.
Costain uses Olivia’s jealousy to gently explore how children learn to work and play together, make friendships, and ultimately show kindness and generosity to each other.
There is no avoiding the fact that Olivia’s Secret Scribbles is squarely aimed at a young female audience. There is a lot of pink! The book is printed in black and pink: to emphasise a word, it’s printed in pink. McDonald’s illustrations perfectly support the text, making the book very appealing to its intended audience: young primary school aged girls. The overall pinkness is cleverly balanced by the books subject matter: a science experiment competition. Several experiments are explained and could be tried at home (with parental assistance). This is particularly timely with the NSW School Curriculum now promoting STEM subjects across all classroom activities.
Recommended reading age: 6 – 9.
Super Science Stars totally charmed me and is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Gaby Meares