over, Barbie – there’s a new girl rocking the pink all over town, and hers is fluoro!
Meet Aggie Flea, whom you will immediately fall for, because she’s inquisitive, imaginative and
completely inept in most situations. Really, she’s a bit like Anne of Green
Gables in that she never intends to be troublesome but somehow always ends up
is ten, lives with her long-suffering mother and older teen brother, Jack, who
thinks he’s the man of the house now that their dad has moved to London.
has a bestie called Kumi and a pet mouse called Mr Pickles, and, as mentioned,
a penchant for getting herself into unintentional scrapes. For example,
squashing a spider inside her maths book, forgetting it was there until her
arachnophobe teacher opens the books – cue loud shrieks and a (yet another)
visit to the principal’s office.
the world’s biggest fan of Princess Zombie (graphic novels), and Tania’s
inclusion of excerpts of these to parallel Aggie at certain points is not only
a brilliant technique, but one that is exceedingly difficult to manage and make
cohesive. In fact, Aggie really wants to be just like Princess Zombie when she
grows up – ‘Except the part about being a Princess. And the part about being
mysterious new neighbour moves in next door, Aggie’s always fertile imagination
runs wild with these clues; a) a hearse parked in the driveway b) moving in at
midnight under cover of darkness c) mysterious letter wrongly delivered from
the Blood Bank d) not spotting the neighbour at all in daylight, all clearly
point to the irrefutable fact that the new neighbour is a vampire. Of course,
the additional clues of an extraordinary number of cotton buds being used and
bagpipe music, also indicate that the vampire is Scottish with exceptionally
when the local newspaper runs a competition for the schoolkids with the prize
for best interviewer winning their prize presented by none other than D.K.
Norman, author of Princess Zombie, Aggie is determined to win at all costs. She
wants the fame, she wants to meet her hero author, and she wants to beat the
pants of snarky Zara Miller. You may well conjecture that this interview
with a vampire is going to be full of mishap from start to finish – and
you’d be right!
much to love and laugh over with this great new series: mouse poo rolled in
glitter to mimic actual bat droppings (you know because vampires can
transform!) which, of course, also end up all over the cranky teacher, the
principal’s slug-like moustache (that had me in fits of giggles), the constant
qualifier ‘with his giant head’ in reference to Jack, Aggie’s attempted
Scottish accent and more.
Though the humour rackets riotously
throughout, there’s also a lot to be gleaned on not letting imaginations run
away, friendship, consideration and thoughtfulness. I love that in a market so
dominated by male writers with formulaic ‘humorous’ books [quotation marks
deliberate], Tania is writing fresh and sparkling comedic narratives for the
junior/middle grades. I’ve been a fan since Jinny & Cooper and can’t
wait to see more of Aggie’s adventures. I also need to make note of the
hilarious illustrations from A Yi and the brilliant (and flamboyant) touch of
the electric pink throughout!
recommended for your readers as a read-aloud from Year 1 or for your newly
independent and growing readers. Check the trailer for an
introduction to the fun.
Title: Aggie Flea Is NOT A Liar
Author: Tania Ingram
Illustrator: A Yi
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $16.99
Date of Publication: September 2023
For ages: 6+
Type: Junior Fiction