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Opposite Land (Charlotte Rose Hamlyn, Random House)

After a terrible first day at her new school and a fight with her mother, Steve storms up to her room and the next thing she knows, she has tumbled through her mirror into Opposite Land. She is greeted by a group of talking cabbages who think Steve is their long-lost princess who has come to save them from the evil Emperor Never, who has banished the queen and her warrior princesses. Together with the help of the cabbages, Pirate Papercut, breakdancing mermaids and a spaghetti monster rock band, Steve must defeat Emperor Never and the giant scary Never monster so she can return home. The gorgeous, funky artwork and rampantly silly story make this book ideal for fans of Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Readers will enjoy the funny details such as the mermaids’ ‘ugly dancing’ and the ‘brightness’ toothpaste that Steve uses to turn dentures into glowing lamps. At times the story feels a little rushed, particularly the ending, and I would have liked to see more exploration of the changing relationship between the queen and the returned princess that was hinted at in the end. Overall, Opposite Land is an entertaining story about friendship and standing up for what’s right, which is suitable for readers in upper primary.

Kate McDonell is a primary literacy editor at Cengage Learning and former bookseller


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