A Bestie Start to the Year: Review of Felice Arena’s New Series

A Bestie Start to the Year: Review of Felice Arena’s New Series

To kick off 2020 we have a new offering from Felice Arena, one of our favourite children’s authors. The Besties is an exciting and accessible series aimed at beginner-readers and the first two instalments are The Besties to the Rescue and The Besties Show and Smell.

Based around the friendship of Oliver and Ruby, who have been besties forever, these stories follow them while they have some fun and adventures…

In The Besties to the Rescue, Oliver and Ruby rescue a baby bird from the evil clutches of cat Cutie Pie and then find themselves having to step in as ‘bird-parents’. Are they up to the task? While The Besties Show and Smell is all about a forbidden session of Show and Tell. Will Ruby miss out on sharing her talents with the class?

Each book has added extras such as a step-by-step guide to making a rude noise with your armpit in the Besties Show and Smell, along with a comic about Super Ollie and The Incredible Botham. There are also songs and jokes. In The Besties to the Rescue, we have a list of instructions for how to look after a baby bird, along with a comic, songs and jokes.

Illustrated by Tom Jellett, who has illustrated many of Felice Arena’s previous books, the series is funny, engaging and the illustrations help to make them appealing and accessible to new readers. There will be two more books coming in April, The Besties Make a Splash and The Besties Party On.

However, the books are just part of the story, if you head to Felice Arena’s website, you’ll also find that there is a ukulele album that accompanies the series and future plans for colouring and activity pages. Ukulele video tutorials, along with lyric and chord sheets are also in the works so you and your bestie (or your entire classroom) will be able to play and sing-along! The Besties songs are written and sung by Andy Kelly, Felice Arena, Jeremy Thoms and Robin Thoms. Felice Arena is no stranger to music or performance. Before becoming one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors, he began his career as an actor and singer.

While the stories are everyday relatable adventures, they are most importantly fun to read and we all know how crucial that can be in keeping little readers interested. For new readers they could be a great way to keep up the reading skills over the holiday break and for those just starting out but keen to move from picture books to chapter books, there are enough pictures and extra activities to give them a confident start.

Reviews

Awesome illustrated chapter book for young readers: Read an extract from The Besties by Felice Arena and Tom Jellett

Review | Extract

8 May 2020

Awesome illustrated chapter book for young readers: Read an extract from The Besties by Felice Arena and Tom Jellett

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Publisher details

The Besties Show and Smell
Authors
Felice Arena, Tom Jellett
Publisher
Penguin
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
07 January, 2020

Synopsis

From the author and illustrator of the popular Sporty Kids books comes an exciting new beginner-reader series that celebrates the everyday adventures – at school, at home, in the backyard, even in the living room! A funny, sweet series about kids being kids, where imagination and play rule! Oliver and Ruby have been besties forever . . . Ruby is so looking forward to Show and Tell, but the teacher is away and it looks like she’ll miss out. Plus, the besties won’t get to see what Zac’s talent is – it’s bound to be really funny and gross! Can they turn a very bad day into the very best?

Publisher details

The Besties to the Rescue
Authors
Felice Arena, Tom Jellett
Publisher
Penguin
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
07 January, 2020

Synopsis

From the author and illustrator of the popular Sporty Kids books comes an exciting new beginner-reader series that celebrates the everyday adventures – at school, at home, in the backyard, even in the living room! A funny, sweet series about kids being kids, where imagination and play rule! Oliver and Ruby have been besties forever . . . Oliver is trying to record Ruby’s awesome trampoline flips in slow-mo, but he captures something else too. Cutie Pie, the cat from next door, is pouncing on a bird’s nest! The baby bird is too young to fly. Will the besties be the best bird-parents ever?
Felice Arena
About the author

Felice Arena

Felice Arena is one of Australia's best-loved children's writers. He is the author and creator of many popular and award-winning children's books for all ages, including Whippersnapper, the bestselling Specky Magee books and the popular Andy Roid series. For more information about Felice and his books visit his website at: felicearena.com

Books by Felice Arena

Tom Jellett
About the author

Tom Jellett

Tom Jellett is an Australian illustrator based in Sydney. Tom has been an editorial illustrator for News Limited, working on The Australian, The Weekend Australian and The Daily Telegraph.He has also illustrated a number of books for children, including Australia at The Beach by Max Fatchen, The Littlest Pirate series by Sherryl Clark for Penguin Books, The Gobbledygook is Eating A Book by Justine Clarke and Arthur Baysting, My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein and the follow up My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny for Walker Books.Tom has also been included in the Editorial and Book category for Illustrators 53, exhibited at the Society of Illustrators, New York in 2011 and 2013. He was also included in Communication Arts Illustration Annual 2012, 3×3 Children’s Show No. 9, and was also Highly Commended in the 2013 Illustrators Australia Awards.

Books by Tom Jellett

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