Rita’s Revenge (Lian Tanner, A&U)
Rita’s Revenge is the companion book to Lian Tanner’s debut crime book A Clue for Clara (2020), and is set in the same small town of Little Dismal. Rita the duck, an outsider and poet, seeks revenge on Clara the chicken, who sullied the good name of the ducks in the past and needs taking down. To help her in her quest for vengeance, Rita befriends a young girl, Tracy, at the local school. However, a plot to kidnap Clara sets them on an exciting adventure. The story is told partly through Rita’s diary, which is entertaining, as Rita doesn’t know how to tell time or the days of the week and uses descriptions such as ‘half past egg’ and ‘skulking o’clock’ instead. Also driving the narrative are letters from Tracy to her friend Jubilee, who has left town, but Tracy doesn’t actually mail them because she doesn’t know where Jubilee has gone. Tanner is the author of numerous fantasy adventure series, include the bestselling Keepers trilogy, as well as the Rogues and Hidden series. Although not strictly a series, Rita’s Revenge doesn’t quite work without knowing about Clara’s escapades in the first book and, at over 300 pages, it is quite a long story for the age group. However, this animal-narrated crime caper is a fun read aloud for strong readers aged 8–10.
Angela Crocombe is a senior children’s buyer at Readings Kids.