What Zola Did on Tuesday
By Melina Marchetta
Illustrated by Deb Hudson
Reviewed by Barbara Braxton
Cousins Zola and Alessandro live next door to each other – there’s even a gate cut into the fence by their Nonno Nino before he died so they could be together as much as they want, so most afternoons after school they play together.
After her adventures trying to help her Nonna and the school gardening club, Zola has been trying to stay out of trouble, joining Nonna at the community gardening club, trying to learn to listen and even giving Alessandro’s dog Gigi obedience lessons so she will be allowed to play in Nonna’s garden with the children.
But new neighbours, cats and dogs that aren’t yet friends, Nonna learning to knit and a new school project to help the homeless can really only have one outcome when Zola gets involved…
This is another joyous romp about Zola and her friends doing ordinary everyday things in which the reader can see themselves, understand and relate to, while forming a stepping stone for newly independent readers with a solid text combined with lots of illustrations, short chapters and humour.
This could be any neighbourhood anywhere and it could be the inspiration for children to get together in ways they did in previous generations and be the foundation blocks of a new community as the children in this series are.
Most children, regardless of the heritage, understand “Nonna” is the Italian word for grandmother and now they can add the Arabic word Teta to their vocabulary – just another subtle way that diversity is celebrated in the story.
There are seven stories in the series altogether and each one promises to be just as engages and entertaining.