The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife
Hodder Children’s, 2021
225pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Scarlett Fife has BIG FEELINGS. And when she has BIG FEELINGS, they explode out of her like an over-squeezed stress ball.
Scarlett’s in big trouble after a BIG FEELINGS episode leads to a runaway hamster getting into the vicar’s trousers at her aunty’s engagement party. If she loses her temper ONE MORE TIME, she’s going to miss out on her trip to Mega Awesome Sicky Fun World, the best theme park on the planet.
But feelings are like slime in a party bag. No matter how much someone tells you to keep it in, it’ll always find its way out. And very soon, Scarlett notices that every time she pushes her feelings down, something explodes. Like … really, properly explodes.
It might be her teacher’s slimy green smoothie. A huge pot of purple paint. Or a massive pile of elephant poo at the zoo. And let’s hope Scarlett doesn’t get mad at Aunty’s wedding – that wedding cake is HUGE …
Start a story with “I AM SO ANGRY I THINK MY BUM MIGHT FALL OFF’ and populate it with characters who are instantly relatable to its audience, add modern illustrations and a graphic layout and you have a story that is going to appeal to a wide number of newly independent readers, particularly girls who understand Scarlett’s frustrations. This is a new series (with at least two more scheduled) for those in the 9+ age group who like humour, action and an assertive sassy heroine who can’t always control her feelings and her temper. Most importantly, it demonstrates that sometimes the healthiest way to deal with a situation is to let yourself explode, express your frustration and anger and not be the sweet, demure, considerate person that people expect you to be. (Ask me how I know!!) But it also shows that there are times when you need to suck it up and move on – learning the when and why of both responses is part of maturing and that’s just what Scarlett and her readers are doing.