Books & Literature

Book Review: The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great, by Jaqueline Harvey, illustrated by Kate Isobel Scott

EARLY LEARNER: Gloria is not like the other chickens. She gets in your face, she runs her own race, until one day she disappears without trace!

Bright illustrations and a lovely message make this a great book for any young reader.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

Australian author Jacqueline Harvey is one of Australia’s most popular authors, having won many awards throughout her career. She has written several middle year’s series and last year released her first picture book, That Cat. She has now written a second picture book, The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great.

This is the story of Gloria the chicken who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, but one day she just disappears. The other chickens are not particularly worried as Gloria unfortunately was not very popular in the chicken coop.

This rhyming story keeps us thinking until the very end. Where could Gloria have got to? As readers, we wonder whether being so close to Christmas could be a factor? Children and adults will have fun trying to guess what has happened.

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great is a story of accepting people for who they are. It is OK to be different and we need to be kind to everyone. Maybe being different can actually be a good thing?

The lovely illustrations are bright and detailed, and many are very humorous — the hawk in the tree holding a knife and fork, for example. Gloria is shown as larger-than-life, and this contrasts nicely with the size of the other chickens when she disappears. One point of difference between these illustrations and those of many other books, is that some are drawn from a different perspective. That is, from above or below the action. The view of decorating the tree from above is particularly effective as we see the dad untangling lights and the boy discovering decorations.

In a classroom setting there could be lots of discussion around how each person celebrates Christmas, if at all. Decorations, food, and traditions. Children could also talk about things they do that might be a little left-of-centre which could create a lovely discussion about differences and acceptance.

The Daring Tale of Gloria the Great would be a perfect book to pop into any young child’s Christmas stocking.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: August 2023
RRP: $19.99

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