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.