Meredith Costain (text), Danielle Mc Donald (illus), Dreams Come True (Ella Diaries #4), Scholastic Australia, 1 August 2015, 144pp., $12.99 (pbk). ISBN: 9781760153045
The amazing and talented rock star Cassi Valentine is coming to town and Ella and her friends are over-the-top excited. Teachers explain that entering a local competition may also bring this idol to their very own school for a lunchtime concert… students must simply create a video about performing arts at their school. When the two best ideas are from Ella and her least favourite person at school, Peach Parker, trouble lies ahead. What are the teachers thinking?
Diary entries are about creating that personal feel and the use of the orange and black coloured text throughout the book with matching illustrations worked so well here that I felt compelled to read the fine print to find out what the font was… and the conscious choice for the publisher to use Sweetie Pie and Janda Quirkygirl (yes, really) was absolutely perfect! This smaller shaped book with its hand-written type font and bright busy cover has great appeal. This is a book targeted at girls seven years and over, an age group often focused on secrets, best friends, sleep overs and fancy stationery. Incorrect spellings, scribbling out and made up words just add to the “over-excitered” and intimacy of the book. The possibility of writing one’s own diary at home or at school shines through and would be an easy link to make in classrooms everywhere. The limited words on each page make it an ideal book from which to move students from school readers to ‘real’ texts.
While Ella is definitely an attention seeker and control freak, she comes to life through her diary and is likeable and funny; she makes plenty of mistakes and readers will enjoy learning her inner secrets. With other titles in the series already released and more pending, girls are going to get hooked!
Reviewed by Emily Meldrum