Music mania: Read our review of What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Music mania: Read our review of What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta and Deb Hudson

Zola lives on Boomerang Street with her mum and her Nonna Rosa, who’s an excellent gardener. Zola feels lucky to live behind her cousin Alessandro, and near her friends Omar, Bianco, and Leo. She spends most afternoons with them, except for when she has music practice – Zola plays the trombone!

Zola feels as though her family doesn’t enjoy her music-making, but that doesn’t impact her as much when she finds out her neighbourhood friends also play instruments. Her grumpy, old neighbour Mr Walton, however, is not fond of all the children in the street practising simultaneously – it’s a noisy affair!

After Zola’s teacher announces there will be a talent quest at their school fete, Zola enlists her musical friends to form a band and enter the show with her. Thursday is their dedicated band practice day, but they’re struggling to agree on the specifics. Will they agree on a song to perform? There might just be an unexpected (possibly grumpy) conductor who hops on board and takes their performance to the next level.

Most readers know the author, Melina Marchetta. Her breakout YA novel Looking for Alibrandi is an Australian classic and she has written widely for adults and children since. This book is the fourth in Melina’s first series for younger readers. There will be seven in entirety – one for every day of the week. It is beautifully illustrated by Deb Hudson, and the illustrations are generously placed so that newly independent readers can rely on pictures to assist them with context.

There are some heart-warming scenes in the book that I think will spread a lovely message to a young audience. There are clear themes of unity, friendship, and joy, that readers aged 6+ will particularly enjoy. What positively struck me were the undertones of racial inclusion, respect for one’s elders, and being environmentally friendly – but then Melina always has been a trail-blazer in this regard, writing for ethnic teens well before anyone else did.

Over the years we’ve heard about how she adores the multi-cultural suburb she lives in, and this is displayed here. I thought the subtle inclusion of these themes was a clever way for Melina to communicate important traits and qualities to a young audience in a fun and digestible way. This is another wonderful addition to Melina’s delightful new series, bound to become an Australian classic.

Reviews

Can't keep out of trouble: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta

Review | Extract

9 February 2021

Can't keep out of trouble: Read an extract from What Zola Did on Thursday by Melina Marchetta

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Synopsis

From the author of Looking for Alibrandi comes this gorgeous series to engage and entertain newly independent young readers. Zola loves living on Boomerang Street with her mum and her nonna. Every day of the week is an adventure. But Zola has a problem. No matter how much she tries, she can't keep out of trouble. Like on Thursday, when she and the gang form a band and upset their cranky neighbour, Mr Walton . . . Collect all seven stories in the series – one for every day of the week!
Deb Hudson
About the author

Deb Hudson

Deb’s illustration style celebrates colour, detail and texture. She enjoys drawing bright, happy, joyful everyday things. She works with coloured pencils on paper and refines digitally. She is currently illustrating a new chapter book series for 5-8 year olds, The Zola series. Written by best selling author Melina Marchetta and published through Penguin Books Australia.  The first book of the series of seven is to be released in June 2020. Deb illustrated her first children's book 'The Golden Thread', written by Amelia Donnelly and published by Lake press in 2018. She works from her studio in a seaside suburb in Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, 3 children, an energetic border collie and a bright yellow canary, who she loves to draw. Deb studied Fine Art at Griffith University in Queensland.

Books by Deb Hudson

Melina Marchetta
About the author

Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is a bestselling author in more than twenty countries and eighteen languages. She has published award-winning young adult, fantasy and crime fiction, including her acclaimed crime novel, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. Her much-loved Australian classic, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards when it was published, and was also released as a film, adapted by Marchetta, winning an AFI Award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay, as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award. The companion novel to Marchetta’s award-winning book Saving FrancescaThe Piper's Son, also received much acclaim in Australia and internationally, and in 2009 Marchetta won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for Jellicoe Road. She lives in Sydney.

Books by Melina Marchetta

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