Heaps better than a fake spider on your door frame – ‘Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend’

Olivia'sSecretScribblesMNBF.jpgWhat’s more awesome than your kid not wanting to go to sleep because they’re reading a great book?

Having them wake up the next morning and keep reading! And almost be late for school because they love the book so much! And then talk about it all the way to school!

‘Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend’ by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald is the first “big kid” book my daughter read by herself, cover to cover. In less than 24 hours, too.

That’s not reading, people, that’s devouring.

So, what was so inviting in this book?

  • Easy to read font with lots of enticing illustrations
  • A couple of mysteries to solve
  • Some hidden lessons

Fab format

It’s not hard to guess that a diary-format book is going to be more attractive to children just learning to read independently, or who struggle to read lots of text. That’s why there are so many of them out there! ‘My New Best Friend’ uses a delicious font that is super-easy to read, mixing it up with pictures and comics and notes.

Magic mysteries

Who is going into Olivia’s new room? And why is the new girl digging all those holes?

It’s great how Olivia uses all her inventive know-how to try and determine who’s snooping in her room. And the puzzle of who has moved into the house behind them keeps unfolding throughout the book.

I love Donkey the Detective Cat. Possibly the most optimistic attempt to train an animal in the history of animal training!

And some subtle take-home messages…

The thing that really was a highlight of my daughter’s discussion about this book was when she pointed out how upset Olivia was that someone was going into her room, and yet Olivia kept going into Ella’s room. And, to quote my daughter, that ‘wasn’t really fair Mum.’ It’s not blatantly declared a terrible double-standard in the book, but the message got across anyway.

Olivia and her classmates are also really welcoming to Matilda, the new girl in their class. And even though Olivia initially doesn’t want to go back to school, she enjoys being there. Both awesome behaviour modelling for our kids.


As the first in a new series, there is ample opportunity for young readers to dive into this new offering from the Ella and Olivia series. An obvious stepping stone to the Ella Diaries, which is smart marketing, and if it gets kids reading more then – hurray!

5 thoughts on “Heaps better than a fake spider on your door frame – ‘Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend’

  1. Pingback: AWW2018 roundup and 2019 launch! | hm waugh – writer

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