Monday, May 4, 2015

The New Kid by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick (Hodder Children's Books)

The New Kid

Written and Illustrated by
Marie Louise Fitzpatrick

Published by Hodder Children's Books

When a new kid moves into the street, the local children are curious. What's she like? Who is she? Why does she wear a coat all the time?

Meet Ellie, star of Marie Louise Fitzpatrick's sensitive and thought provoking children's book "The New Kid" as the story explores many issues that would weigh heavily on a child's minds when they have to up sticks and move to a new town.

The local kids aren't really sure what to make of Ellie. At first they mock and chide (with one exception, a boy who quietly watches as his friends are teasing and quite mean). Ellie has her own ways of fitting in though, and the subtle balance of childhood relationships is explored as the new kid becomes the new and interesting and different kid, and the quiet boy now feels displaced as the leader of the gang.

I loved the subtleties of this story, which were (alas) lost on Charlotte who didn't like the way the story flowed, and really didn't like the way the kids initially behave to Ellie before warming to her ways (which is of course the point). "The book is boring" she said (horrors!) but for children in Ellie's situation, this book would actually feel like more familiar territory. We did both agree on one thing though, the painted illustrations are truly magical and bring Ellie's plight to life in wonderful hues and palettes that virtually leap off the page. Certainly this is a story that would really be great used in classrooms and libraries where children coping with new surroundings could find it and make it their own.

Charlotte's best bit: Ellie's elephant impression and superhero antics (very impressive!)

Daddy's Favourite bit: A subtle and touching story with a firm message, glorious illustrations but could the story be too subtle for some kids?

(Kindly sent to us for review by Hodder Children's Books)