Tag Archives: Willa and Woof

Willa and Woof 3: Grandparents for Hire – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Australia

January 2023

  • ISBN: 9781761043338
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $12.99

It makes me very happy that my first review for 2023 is for my lovely friend, and über-talented creator, Jacqueline Harvey for #3 in her latest sensational series. Jacqueline has a sublime knack for creating character with whom readers can immediately connect, empathise and love, and Willa – along with her ensemble cast – is no exception.

I particularly love that in this latest, Jacqueline addresses an issue that many schools have finally begun to realise can be problematic and upsetting for children – the ubiquitous Grandparents’ days and events. To be sure, the intention behind these functions originally was very sound: a desire to embrace the older generation and include them in their grandchildren’s lives. But as time goes on, it is more and more apparent that many kiddos are living quite removed from their grandparents, whether physically, or in other ways.

Clever little Willa conceives of a plan for her own school Grandparents Day to solve this problem for her fellow students and, at the same time, draws attention to situation at the local retirement village whereby the residents’ outings are threatened due to lack of funding. I love that Willa’s is constantly inventive and problem-solving – to be sure, sometimes she encounters obstacles but always she remains optimistic and positive. Along with the whole dearth of available grandparents, outings at risk, Willa also has a mystery to solve about her beloved four-legged friend, Woof. The lovable wolfhound has developed a very out-of-character habit of running away, not to mention stealing food and it is quite a conundrum to Willa and her family for some time. Astute little readers will pick up on the doggy vibe and predict the reason for Woof’s naughtiness, I am sure. The course of canine true love does not always run smoothly!

I’m sure smart librarians and teachers will already have clued up to this new series but for those who haven’t – or if you are looking for new books at this start of the year to tempt a newly emerging reader in your circle – you cannot go wrong with these. I also had quite the giggle with the reference to Willa’s teaching reading the class one of the Kensy & Max books – well played Jacqueline! also I think this is my favourite cover so far!

Goes without saying – my highest recommendation – what are you waiting for? Go buy it now!

Such a fun night back in 2021!

Willa and Woof #2: Birthday Business – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Australia

October 2022

  • ISBN: 9781761043321
  • Imprint: Puffin
Our newest favourites from JH are back in their second adventure – and just as delightful as when we first met them. Willa is a very sweet and very kind little girl who has several special friends. Most important of these are Woof, her large albino Irish wolfhound and Tae, her neighbour and best young friend, and, lastly, Frank, who lives in the aged care residence next door, can be a wee bit grumpy but is still Willa’s best old friend.

Willa happens to find out that it’s almost Frank’s birthday and it’s a super special significant one. She feels pretty sad when she knows that Frank’s family, son and his wife plus children, who live in England are unable to even be in touch on this special day so, of course, she decides to do something about it.

Determined Willa thinks a surprise party is just the right thing but organising it takes quite a lot of creative thinking as one obstacle after another is thrown up but finally, it’s all in place and despite Tae’s misgivings that they know Frank prefers ‘no fuss’ it seems like it’s going to just tick all the boxes. But the biggest surprise of all is even more exciting than a party – and that part has nothing to do with Willa at all!

Once again this is such a warm and feel-good narrative about family and friendships, kindness and thoughtfulness. I know that children really warm to Jacqueline’s stories and characters because of these recurring themes. And really, how badly are such values needed in modern society? It is so important that we try our very best to encourage our little ones to have such empathy and consideration for others.

Jacqueline’s knack for creating her engaging characters and making sure each adventure is new and fresh has deservedly earned her legion fans of all ages and this new series is certainly going to take it’s place alongside old favourites Clementine Rose, Alice-Miranda, Kensy and Max.

Be sure to add these to your collection, where they will be in constant demand I can promise you.

Highly recommended for your young readers, especially newly independent, from around 5 years upwards.