Nick Bland, The Fabulous Friend Machine, Scholastic Australia, 1 Oct 2016, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760277659
The Fabulous Friend Machine is the latest picture book from the very talented Australian award-winning author-illustrator, Nick Bland.
The main character is a delightful chicken called Popcorn. Popcorn was ‘the friendliest chicken at Fiddlesticks Farm.’ But one day when Popcorn finds a dazzling little screen flashing in the barn her priorities change and she gets obsessed by her online friends.
This is a clever cautionary tale that will spark discussions about the importance of friendships, and the need to be careful online.
Recently a friend and I taught a writing workshop to a Year 7 class. We read this book to the class and even those teenagers easily related to the message.
Kids will love Nick’s bold colourful illustrations of life in the farm yard. Popcorn’s lovely, innocent, friendly, kind personality shines through.
I would recommend The Fabulous Friend Machine for all ages. It is a barnyard tale with a contemporary twist. I predict this will be another successful book for Nick Bland.
Reviewed by Wendy Fitzgerald