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Fairies, Friendship, Rivalry: Review of Nullaboo Hullabaloo by Fleur Ferris

May 7, 2019

Gemma Hart is patiently waiting for Mrs Merrylock to hand out the science competition topics to Year 4. She has her heart set on researching butterflies.

Her mother Kendra is an entomologist so it’s no surprise that Gemma has a keen interest in nature. And who doesn’t like beautiful, colourful butterflies? Surely, if she’s given butterflies as a topic, it will be easy enough to win and she can then represent her school and compete for the trophy?

Nina won the trophy last year for the school and while the girls were once good friends things have been strained between them lately. It would be a real achievement if Gemma could bring the trophy home this year.

When Nina gets butterflies and Gemma is stuck with May flies, she is more than a little discouraged – Gemma doesn’t even know where to start looking when she ventures out into the school grounds in search of a boring May fly.

With a heavy heart she takes her bug catcher into the playground, but what she finds there moments later is nothing short of miraculous – initially Gemma thinks it’s a feather but her catch soon transforms into a fairy called Janomi who is desperate for help.

Gemma goes on to record Janomi’s story of an entire colony of fairies that live in the grounds of Nullaboo Primary and discovers that their leader Papa Faffa has been captured and held hostage by their enemies, the silver spiders.

Of course, Gemma immediately gets to work trying to free Papa but when things go awry and the footage of Janomi ends up all over the internet, there is a lot at stake.

Can Gemma and her friends and family manage to save the fairies from the Department of Unexpected Discoveries DUD and the two bumbling agents who are leading the investigation? Has Papa Faffa survived and what will the fairies do now that the secret of their existence has come to light?

This fast-paced story is about the magic of fairies but more importantly it’s a story about community, working together to do the right thing and preserve living creatures and the environment. It’s also about friendship and rising above rivalries when others need help.

Primary school readers will thoroughly enjoy this new book by Australian author Fleur Ferris, her first for young readers, and hopefully there will be more stories of Gemma, Janomi and the residents of Nullaboo to come.

Purchase a copy of Nullaboo Hullabaloo by Fleur Ferris | Read an extract | Download an activity pack

Fleur Ferris spent the first seventeen years of her life growing up on a farm in Patchewollock, northwest Victoria. She then moved twenty times in twenty years.

During this time, Fleur sometimes saw the darker side to life while working for a number of years as a police officer and a paramedic.

She now lives a more settled lifestyle in Moama, southern New South Wales, with her husband and three children.

Fleur’s colourful and diverse background has given her a unique insight into today’s society and an endless pool of experiences to draw from. When she isn’t weaving this through her latest story, reading or spending time with her family, you will find her with friends, talking about art, books and travel.

Fleur’s first novel, Risk, won the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature, the Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards for Best Young Adult Novel and Best Debut Book 2016, as well as a YABBA in 2017. She has also written BlackWreck and Found for young adults. Nullaboo Hullabaloo is Fleur’s first novel for young readers.


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