Books & Literature

Book Review: Willa and Woof 4: Wedding Rescue, by Jacqueline Harvey

MIDDLE GRADE: Summer has arrived and Willa’s excited – it’s time for Aunty Jane’s wedding! But December means it’s bushfire season too and Willa’s town is in danger.

Bushfires ,weddings and Willa’s care for other people make this new story in the Willa and Woof series a must have for younger readers.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

Australian author Jacqueline Harvey is one of Australia’s most popular authors. She is a full-time writer, having left her teaching career in 2012. She is known for her Alice–Miranda, Clementine Rose, Kensy and Max, and Willa and Woof series. As well as being shortlisted for numerous children’s book awards, Harvey has had two of her stories about Alice-Miranda made into animated feature films.

Willa and Woof 4: Wedding Rescue is the fourth book in the Willa and Woof series. They are about a little girl called Willa. Her best animal friend is her albino Irish wolfhound Woof. Her best same-age friend is Tae, who lives in the same street, and her best old-age friend is Frank, who lives next door in the Sunset Views Retirement Village. Willa likes to solve problems, be kind and visit people, especially the old people who live in the retirement village. As soon as she discovers a problem, she will go to great lengths to help.

Willa’s aunt is getting married, which for Willa is a mix of great enjoyment and horror as she will be wearing a dress that she really doesn’t like. Unfortunately, it is summer which means it’s bushfire season, and the family need to make sure they are safe if it comes their way. Willa of course is more worried about the residents of the retirement village and her friends who live on her street. Harvey uses a fire breathing dragon as a great simile for the fire. As readers we can imagine the heat, smoke and cinders in the air, and the agony of choosing your most precious possessions to save.

And then Willa has something else she needs to rescue and in her most endearing way, she ploughs ahead to make sure everything turns out alright in the end.

These books are suitable for young people aged five to 10. Early readers will enjoy the way Willa solves problems and her relationship with her best friend Tae. There are lots of positive messages in the book, especially her ability to think about how other people may feel as well as dealing with a bully.

Each book has a different coloured front cover, this one being yellow. Willa is always shown standing with Woof with a little hint about the storyline. This one has Woof wearing a bowtie, carrying a ring on a pillow, and Willa is holding a bouquet of flowers. The black-and-white lined drawings throughout the book add to the story.

For those who are collecting the series, you will want to add Willa and Woof4: Wedding Rescue to your collection and even though this is a stand-alone book, new readers may also wish to read the previous three stories as well.

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: April 2023
RRP: $12.99

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