Ella's arrived at school camp and she can't wait for the FUN to begin! But then she discovers there are spooky noises outside every night, hair-raising camp activities to do, PLUS she has to share a cabin with scheming Peach Parker. How will Ella manage to avoid Peach's pranks AND the petrifying Giant Swing for a WHOLE week? This is going to be the worst camp EVER! Tom Gates meets Dork Diaries for young girls.
My daughter (almost 8 years old) has enjoyed Ella and Olivia books (both reading on her own, and me reading them to her), and I had been eyeing up the Ella Diaries series and wondering if they'd be suitable for her to move onto. I was lucky enough to be given a couple from this series by KIWIreviews, and Miss 7 chose this one to read first as the idea of a school camp really appealed to her, even though it's not something she has experienced herself yet.
Miss 7 reads fairly well, but still prefers me to read to her, so I expected her to want to me to read this book. I had glanced inside and felt it was border line for her abilities but I was keen to try it out. So one night we settled down to read this together and Miss 7 informs me that she's already read the first 2 pages! This is great to hear, as it's nice to have a book that will appeal to my reluctant reader. However she hadn't understood the term 'dear diary' on the first page so didn't get too far on her own.
I was able to explain about what a diary was, and this set her on the path to enjoy and love this book. As I read the book to her, I found myself noticing other things that may have confused her if she'd read it on her own - mostly that there were some made up words as the book reads as if Ella really is writing in her diary.
I was more than happy to read this book though, as it is loads of fun and whilst nicely predictable in places, it keeps you guessing enough to hold your interest... and especially the interest of my daughter, with similar worries that she would have herself in her school life. I loved the pictures and tidbits and little hearts that dot some of the letters - it feels like you really are reading the diary of a young girl. We'd only read the first chapter when Miss 7 decided she wanted to keep a diary too, and the next little while was spent hunting out a suitable notebook and labelling the front to start her off. I left her in bed to start writing in it.. but I dare not check up on the progress, as like Ella, I imagine it's top secret!
I feel this book is a great step up from the Ella and Olivia series, and definitely appeals to the next reading level which is really cool for young girls who want to keep reading about their favourite characters but need something more advanced. It might need some explanation to start them off, but I imagine that Miss 7 could probably manage subsequent books in the series by her herself if she really wanted to, however I expect this series would easily appeal for a few more years too. Having had a chance to try this book out, I can now confidently order further books in the series as they come up, and will certainly plan to do so.
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Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)