Bill Condon and Dianne Bates (text), Lucia Masciullo (illus.) The Adventures of Jellybean, University of Queensland Press, 30 April 2018, 176pp., $14.95 (pbk), ISBN 978070226000
The Adventures of Jellybean is a heart-warming story about a couple of kids and their goat. When best friends Rory and Trang adopt a goat they enjoy milking her, primping her for the local show and showing her off at school. But there’s a bit of trouble when Jellybean bleats all night keeping the neighbours awake and later, when she escapes.
The true climax occurs though when Rory and Trang have a falling-out over who will show Jellybean at the local pet show. The pair don’t speak for a while until Rory – who’s been a bit of a prig – apologises. The episode provides a genuine example for the target audience where friendship issues can loom large.
The story was inspired by Bates’ childhood memories of growing up on a goat farm and certainly, the rural life portrayed is reminiscent of an earlier time.
“Unlike many books for children these days which deal with horror and all things out-of-this world and gruesome, this is a cheerful best-mate book with two boys who care for one another, their loved ones, and for their goat,” she said.
The Adventures of Jellybean would be an excellent book for reading aloud to children in junior primary. Sweet black-and-white illustrations combined with some goat facts, add to the package.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher