Orchard Books, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Chirton Krauss is a good child – the very goodest. He does everything he is told, when he is told. He even does good things without being told. He eats his broccoli, cleans the rabbit hutch without whingeing, he goes to bed on time and he never, ever sticks his finger up his nose. His parents are so impressed with his behaviour that they gave him a badge with Goody on it. Chirton’s motto is”If people have decided you are good, don’t disappoint them by being bad”.
Meanwhile, his sister Myrtle is just the opposite. Her motto is “If people have decided you are bad, do not disappoint them by being good” and she goes about living up to their expectations by doing as she pleases. On the outside, it doesn’t seem to bother her that she is not invited to parties, because the pay-off is not having to eat your broccoli, not having to clean the rabbit hutch and being able to stay up all hours because the babysitter has given up fighting with you about bedtime.
But one day, Chirton discovers the benefits of Myrtle’s philosophy and things start to change…
Lauren Child is well-known and well-recognised for writing children’s books that have an edge to them and this is no different. Accompanying the storyline is an independent commentary in red text, aimed squarely at the reader and challenging them to think more deeply about the story. Indeed, it should spark discussion about whether one should follow Chirton’s example or Myrtle’s or whether there might be a middle road…
Little ones do not often chooses a story because of the author – their reading experience is not broad enough for that yet – but Lauren Child is one whose work is well-known even by our youngest readers and this one will be snapped up as soon as they discover that it is a new one from the creator of the infamous Charles and Lola.