The Besties burst onto the early reader scene in January this year, and now Felice Arena and Tom Jellett have created two new adventures for The Besties, Ruby and Oliver. The Besties have been friends forever and live next-door to each other. They are playful, enthusiastic, inquisitive and entirely relatable children who enjoy cartooning (Oliver) and making music (Ruby).
When we met these two adventurous Aussie kids in the first two books of the series they took us To the Rescue of a baby bird and participated in a forbidden game of Show and Smell. Now two more books have been released – The Besties Party On and The Besties Make a Splash.
In The Besties Party On it’s Ruby’s birthday and she is planning a party. They decide to have a practice party to try out the games. Will the real party be as good? At the back of the book there are instructions for making a pinata, music for Happy Birthday, jokes and other cool stuff.
In The Besties Make a Splash Ruby and Oliver go to the beach. They enjoy swimming and exploring the rock pools. When their friend Zac turns up with the coolest girl in the school, some tension is created. At the back of the book there are instructions to learn to bodysurf, cartoons, more music and jokes.
These books are designed to appeal to early readers 6+ and the humour should engage even the most reluctant reader. Also, for some children, reading needs to have a purpose: a reason to invest in the time of sitting still with a book. The activities at the end of each story definitely give purpose to their reading, demonstrating tangible reasons to read the instructions.
Felice Arena is multi-talented and if you head over to his website <insert link> you will find a ukulele album that accompanies the series, along with lyric and chord sheets. He is also the author of the Specky Magee series and many other books for different age groups.
In The Besties series, Felice and Tom have imagined two entirely relatable characters and a formula for reader engagement which has proven to be highly successful. For readers just starting to become independent there are plenty of illustrations to keep them feeling confident, and the activities at the end of the story are accessible and rewarding.