Trouble at Home by Cate Whittle, illustrated by Kim Gamble

Trouble at home: a child is riding a dragon who is carrying off a house, flying above a city. A review by Annabelle Lee and offspring

In Trouble at Home, written by Australian author Cate Whittle, Georgia is on her way home from school one day when she sees a huge dragon carrying off her house with her baby brother inside! Soon the grown ups discover that the house is indeed gone and Godfrey is missing. However, nobody listens when she tells them about the dragon. Mum won’t stop crying and the police treat Dad as a suspect. Only Georgia can solve the mystery and save her brother. (Hint: the dragon is called Trouble!).

Review

Trouble at Home is for ages 7-10. The story is told from the first person perspective of Georgia, who is around that age. Based on the title, my kids (7 & 9 years) weren’t initially keen on this book, but soon they were engrossed in the story and begged me to read “Just one more chapter!”.

Georgia is a matter-of-fact, clever and funny narrator. She was relatable to the kids and they laughed out loud at the humour. As the parent, she wasn’t annoying, which was refreshing for a book aimed at this age group! The kids in the story think and speak and act like kids, and the adults act just like adults really would, as seen through the eyes of a child.

Despite the main character being a girl, her gender plays almost no role in the story whatsoever — she is just a kid. Often at this age everything is divided into gender categories, but Trouble at Home successfully avoids this trap. As such, I think it would be enjoyed equally by boys and girls.

The story is simple but fun, and has a cute happy ending. There was enough tension my children wanted to know what happened next but they weren’t kept awake by it.

My kids also enjoyed the gorgeous illustrations throughout the book. In this case I read it to them, but the short chapters and pictures would make it feel approachable for a young independent reader too.

Kids’ reviews

7 year old said: “I think it’s a good book for kids that like dragons.”

9 year old said: “It would be an interesting book for your child, and it is definitely funny. It would be a good story for your child to listen to while they are getting ready for bed. I looked forward to reading more of it and I really liked it. I’d definitely want to read it again!”

Conclusion

For a fun, easy to read and adventurous story, Trouble at Home is a great choice. Aimed at middle to lower primary school ages, it can be shared by the family or read independently in equally enjoyable measure.

Book details

Rating: 4/5 Stars
ISBN: 9781742990767
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Format: paperback, 96 pages
Release date: 2016
Category: readers age 7 – 10; fantasy

Reviewer Annabelle Lee

Annabelle Lee is a chronic book nerd who loves nothing more than a good story and some people to talk to about the story. Congratulations, you are now those people. Occasionally she puts down a book long enough to take care of her kids and even to write and illustrate some books of her own. You can find her horribly punny series of picture books for grown ups on Facebook and Instagram, or all good online bookstores.

DMZ discovered Annabelle Lee at Impact Comics’s festival where Annabelle showed us her hilarious adult picture books.

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