Busy Betty & The Circus Surprise
40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
Every morning, Busy Betty wakes up with “a MILLION questions and a BILLION ideas.” In this second book, Betty decides to throw her mum a surprise birthday party, and then decides to make it a circus. After all, Jeffrey can juggle, Mae is an acrobat of sorts, she has watched her mother put on makeup every day so that makes her a professional, and while they don’t have a lion, they do have Frank the dog… What could possibly go wrong?
With its bright illustrations that carry much of the story, this moves along at a frenetic pace sweeping the reader up in the narrative as they focus on what else would be needed for a circus. While it might not be one for bedtime, nevertheless its celebration of imagination and free, spontaneous, unstructured, unregulated, unsupervised play offers lots of ideas for children to create their own circus or other games as the long summer days stretch out, as well as all the social connectivity and learning as problems arise and are solved as a team working together towards a common goal.
In my review of the original story, I noted my wariness of stories told by celebrities where often it is the name selling the book rather than the quality of the story, but this seems destined to be a series that will stand on its merits, particularly because its target audience will probably be unaware of the author’s credits in the film world.