Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat (Monica McInerney, illus by Danny Snell, Puffin)
With a dozen adult novels under her belt, Monica McInerney is now turning her hand to children’s fiction and her first foray into middle-grade territory is just as full of heart and laughter as her previous books. Imagine 45 & 47 Stella Street receiving a visit from Salem, Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s familiar and you will have the premise of Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat. The Gills live in the idyllic township of Snorkel Bay, where they run the local caravan park—but there’s trouble in paradise. Marcie’s parents aren’t talking, the park is in financial trouble and worst of all, her beloved grandmother is in hospital with a broken hip. Can an early Christmas present of Gran’s special wishing stone solve all these problems? Enter the true star of the book: George, the black cat with twinkling green eyes, who can answer back when you ask him a question. With his help Marcie tackles the issues in her life one at a time. Determined, inquisitive and resourceful, but sometimes overwhelmed by her emotions, she is a plucky character who will resonate with many young people. Amid expert plotting and pacing, gentle messages about kindness, community and learning to listen shine through. Danny Snell’s illustrations highlight special moments with authenticity and warmth, conjuring classic Aussie summers by the sea. Delightfully daggy and uproariously funny, this book is perfectly pitched to an audience of 8–12 year olds and their read-aloud companions.
Annie Waters sells books, writes about books and podcasts about books. She speaks to Monica McInerney here.