Simone's letters ISBN: 9780192752871
Published by O.U.P., 2003
Simone is a first-class letter writer. Nine, almost ten, at the beginning of the book, she begins by writing to the actor playing Rumpelstiltskin at the local theatre, and the resulting correspondence is funny, detailed, and sometimes sad. We learn about Simone's parents' divorce, the fact that she blames herself, her asthma attacks, and her letting her best friend Chloe boss her around. Jem (the actor) becomes not only her confidant, but begins seeing her mum too, and they all learn lots about each other. This is an easily-read story with black and white graphics and illustrations that help make it quirky and unusual. Ms Pielichaty manages to pack much psychological insight into 90 pages without a hint of didacticism, and Simone grows up considerably in the year we follow her. The letters, both hers and those of her friend Chloe (who conveniently visits Australia in the middle of the book) seem almost too mature for 10 year olds, but the humour helps their style to be believable.