Meredith Costain (text) and Danielle McDonald (illustrator), Time to Shine (Ella Diaries #17), Scholastic Australia, October 2019, 144 pp., RRP $12.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760662851
This is the sweetest series for girls gaining confidence with reading. Ella is adorable and her enthusiasm is infectious. In this book she’s so excited to be returning to school after the holidays and to start work on a special school project.
As a reward for being a star student the previous term, Ella has been chosen to work in a team to create a presentation to show their class. The kids get to choose their own topic but getting three people to agree and work together is not always easy! Ella shares her thoughts and feelings, as well as her group’s progress in her diary.
She’s got cute handwriting, with hearts over the “i”s, some creative spelling (that’s crossed out and corrected!) and there are loads of sweet pictures in black, white and blue. Since the story is told through her diary, Ella shares some feelings of jealousy and resentment that don’t come through in her public behaviour, which is a great example for kids to try to behave graciously even if you don’t always feel particularly gracious. Young readers should also pick up messages about kindness and teamwork, respecting other people’s ideas and getting along.
Time to Shine is the 17th book in the Australian Ella Diaries series. My girls loved Ella and Olivia books when they first started reading and I’d definitely recommend this book for new readers.
Reviewed by Carissa Mason