Book Review: Edie’s Experiments 2: How to be the Best, by Charlotte Barkla • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: Edie’s Experiments 2: How to be the Best, by Charlotte Barkla

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION: How will Edie cope with a new rival as she sets out to win the Science Eco Fair?

Another uplifting story full of crazy experiments and fun characters.

Charlotte Barkla has done it again with her second book in the series, Edie’s Experiments. It is the story of ten-year-old Edie who has moved to the other side of the city with her mum, dad and two-year-old brother Max. She has had to leave behind her friends, particularly her best friend Winnie, who loves science as much as Edie does. In fact, Edie sees herself as a scientist in the making.

In the first book, Edie had just started at a new school and was having trouble fitting in. In this new book, How to be the Best, she continues her love of experiments but when Mr Zhu, the science teacher, tells the children about the Science Eco Fair her brain runs wild thinking of fabulous ways to help the environment. Edie has not caused any disasters at the school for a while, so the teachers have become lulled into a false sense of security.

Enter Dean Starlight, a new boy who arrives at the school. He has come from the Science Academy and desperately wants to win the Science Eco Fair. Maybe even enough that he may try to sabotage the work of Edie?

All the characters in the story are very individual and many have quirky characteristics. The principal, Ms Newton, is particularly loveable with her obsession for everything to do with chihuahuas. Dad and mum are always supportive of Edie’s crazy ideas, as long as they don’t impact too much on their day to day lives. Unfortunately, this often happens! Her younger brother Max helps as much as a baby brother can, and her friend Annie B is happy to follow along with the occasional idea.

Lined black and white illustrations by Sandy Fleet are fun and are a good addition to the text. The book is also dotted with Edie’s experiments and notes: Edie is very organised and writes everything down.

Edie is such a great character. Everything she does is an experiment. She is always positive, fun, full of ideas and always sees the good in everything. Even when something goes wrong, and it often does, she looks for a silver lining. It is nice to have a story with a quirky, kind, lead character for our children to read. She is a lovely role model.

It is so easy to imagine everything that is happening due to the descriptive text, but never too much as to bog down the story. Written in the first person, we are given an insight into Edie’s slightly crazy mind and also her ignorance of the chaos she sometimes causes. Edie’s Experiments 2: How to be the Best is written with humour, and Barkla is able to paint a fabulous picture of a girl who enjoys life and has a kind heart.

Charlotte Barkla, an Adelaide-based author, has used her previous jobs as a civil engineer and physics teacher to help write a fun story with heart.

This is a lovely second book for middle years children and recommended as a good read even if you missed the first one. Parents will love it as well.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: July 2020
RRP: $14.99

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