Thursday, 10 July 2014

Little Celeste by Dawn McNiff (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

The cute cover is nothing compared to the story!
April 2014, Hot Key Books, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: baby in a bed, butterflies, nappy changing, making a scene, bullying, mistaken identity, new friend, aversion to sweets, parental abandonment, turbulent emotions, wishful thinking, illness, feeling unloved,
Content: lots of confusion, mixed emotions, tissues needed

Summary from Hot Key Books
Eleven-year-old Shelley only leaves her bedroom for two minutes, but when she gets back, there's a real, true-life, lavender-eyed baby on her bed. It's far too noisy, smelly and heavy to be a ghost baby - so whose is it? It can't be her mum's - Shelley would have noticed - but it's not like she's around for Shelley to ask, anyway. She's too busy trying to get her horrible ex-boyfriend Scott ('the Toadstool') back, who Shelley definitely does NOT like as much as her mum does.

But someone's got to look after the baby, and give her a name. 'Celeste' sounds good (in fact, it sounds kind of magical) and so Shelley and little Celeste embark on some rather messy adventures, gain some new friends and realise that maybe some wishes can come true after all...

Nayuleska's thoughts 
 Shelly's heart wrenching tale is one I know I'll reread a lot. What her mother puts her through is something no one her age should have to go through. It was neglect on several levels which mad me really mad. It's hardly surprising that Shelly internalised all her grief an anger, she didn't know how to express herself, unlike Celeste. 

I was aww-ing over the cute baby, I felt the love Shelly had for her and saw how Celeste's presence helped Shelly cope with her mother's actions. I enjoyed how the stress babies can cause was portrayed, how Celeste was so in tune with Shelly's emotions. Yet it's because of all the drama that Shelly's life is turned around at the end. She finds friendship at the worst time of her life, has metaphorical bridges repaired, and knows how to take care of a baby, a skill she may find useful as she grows up.

Find out more on Dawn's website.

Available at bookstores including NRC affiliate Foyles.

Suggested read
Another girl who wants to be taken care of, but who doesn't get a magical baby is Katie in City Farm: Katie and the Ducklings by Jessie Williams (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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