The Worst Sleepover in the World
Walker Books, 2021
32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99
Ramona is having her best friend Gracie to stay the night. It’s their first ever sleepover and she wants to make a den, read stories, dance like a wild thing, stay up all night and have a midnight feast. It’ll be the BEST SLEEPOVER IN HISTORY. But nothing quite goes to plan. Gracie turns out to be incredibly fussy, Mum is very understanding but even her patience gets tested, and Ramona is disappointed that her night has not lived up to expectation. Will they be able to solve their problems and still be friends in the morning?
As a young girl, Sophie Dahl spent a lot of time with her grandfather, the incomparable Roald Dahl (whom she called Mold because “her baby tongue” couldn’t get itself around Norwegian Roo-al [silent d]) and, in her words, he “cast a spell over her childhood.” But he also gifted her his ability to tell a great story, and although this is only her second children’s book (the first, Madame Badobedah) it is totally absorbing. The characters and the situation are so relatable that their will scarcely be an adult or child who won’t be taken back to memories of sleepovers that they have experienced. Delving into the lives of the Dahls, you can see there are many elements that Sophie has drawn on to portray Gracie, Ramona and even little sister Ruby, so they are very realistic and credible and one imagines her depiction of the single mum trying everything to appease Gracie’s demands so she is safe and comfortable would be aligned to that of her own mum.
Lozano’s illustrations capture the expressions and the mood exceptionally well and the front cover with mum waving a flag of surrender sums up the story perfectly.
With school restarting and new friendships being made, the requests for sleepovers is going to get louder and more frequent, and this is the perfect story to share in anticipation!! The pains and perils and the discoveries and delights of new friendships are explored with humour and a gentle touch, but you have been warned…