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The Butterfly Club
by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday/Penguin Random House, $34.95)
Reviewed by Sophie Robinson

9780857533180“My name is Tina…” is how the main character introduces herself in Jacqueline Wilson’s newest title The Butterfly Club. Tina is the tiniest of the triplets in the Maynard family. “She has a w-e-a-k heart.” spells her mum.

Tina has always been protected by her sisters and her parents, because she’s delicate and vulnerable. “I nearly died [as an infant]” Tina states. So when the triplets move up to Miss Lovejoy’s class and are made to sit apart for the first time in their lives, Tina is forced to become a little more independent. Tina’s family protests the change. Tina is also scared of facing the challenges ahead – after all, she has both Miss Lovejoy “Miss Lovejoy was famous for being very, very strict…” and classmate Selma “Selma was famous for being hateful…” to deal with.

I think Miss Lovejoy had a plan, she could see Tina needed to learn how to stand on her own two feet. And I think Miss Lovejoy knew Tina could do it. Tina however was not so sure and doubted she’d enjoy school while sitting by Selma.

When Tina falls ill, Miss Lovejoy puts her plan in to action. She gives Tina a very special project to help her make new friends and to find an inner strength in herself. Tina begins to research the project as she recuperates. And that’s where the butterflies come in….

Following the story is a butterfly section. There are butterfly facts, the life cycle of a butterfly, how to make your own butterfly garden, a recipe, a puzzle and a quiz.

Jacqueline Wilson is a top British author with a long list of book titles, awards and honours. In 2008 she was appointed a Dame for services to children’s literacy.

As with Jacqueline Wilson’s other books, the main character is someone you get attached to. The story is absorbing and hard to put down – I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop! It is a great read.

While The Butterfly Club is written for a slightly younger audience than many of her titles, and has main characters that are 7 years old, the story will still appeal to a wide age group – I would say 7 – 11 year olds.

Highly recommended – but you wouldn’t expect anything less from Jacqueline Wilson!