I read the first Wendy Quill last year and LOVED it. Not just because the book is laugh-out-loud funny, but also because of the superb illustrations (done by Wendy Meddour’s supremely talented daughter Mina May). So when the second in the series was published, I begged for a copy to review – and I wasn’t disappointed.
Wendy Quill is the kind of character who sees possibilities in everything. When told by her mother that on no account can she have another pet to add to the family’s collection, Wendy tries to get round this most unfair rule by creating unusual animals. For a while, she is accompanied everywhere by her faithful invisible dog, Bathilda Brown. BB (as I shall call her) is possibly the most successful pet ever and is intensely loyal to Wendy – until Wendy commits the unforgivable sin of dissing her in public:
‘An INVISIBLE dog!’ snorted Angelina Hardthorpe. ‘Wait till the “girly gang” hear about this.’
‘What INVISIBLE dog?’ I said, pretending not to know.
‘Your INVISIBLE dog, Wendy Quill,’ said Angelina Hardthorpe.
‘But that would be completely silly,’ I said. ‘Everyone knows that INVISIBLE dogs don’t even exist.’
Poor Bathilda Brown! Even invisible dogs have feelings, so Wendy soon finds herself pet-less again and in sections two and three of the book she attempts to grow frogs from tadpoles and catch nits from Tyler Ainsworth. Either of these, she reasons, would result in pets she would appreciate.
Speaking as a former actor, the antics of Wendy in her first book, Wendy Quill is a Crocodile’s Bottom, appealed to me particularly, but I’m quite sure that young readers will all identify with Wendy’s desire for a pet of her own. And the trademark humour is spot-on: the children all refer to each other by their full names (a habit I’ve noticed in my own primary-aged daughter) and Wendy’s tendency to ‘slightly shout’ things always has me giggling.
Of course the book wouldn’t be half as attractive were it not for Mina May’s superb illustrations. Every page is packed with what you might call ‘DVD extras’; little nuggets of extra info and ‘asides’ from the character of Wendy herself. You’d think it would be extremely difficult to draw an invisible dog, but Mina carries it off with aplomb.
When the first book was published, I sent a copy to one of my best friends, who has a daughter aged 9 with dyslexia. Both she and her daughter were absolutely thrilled with it, and the daughter read it over and over again with huge enjoyment. They have been waiting MONTHS for the follow-up, and I shall be pleased to tell them it’s been worth the wait 🙂 Well done, Wendy and Mina!
There is a third instalment in the series, Wendy Quill is Full Up of Wrong, due out later this year, and you can visit Wendy Meddour’s website here.