Jelly Baby by Jean Ure

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Jelly Baby by Jean Ure

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Buy Jelly Baby by Jean Ure at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The girls really want Dad to be happy with his new girlfriend, but will they be able to accommodate each other? It's a great story and not at all what I was expecting. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: June 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007518692

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Flora, who is generally called 'Bitsy' and sometimes 'Jelly Baby' because she's well rounded, doesn't really know what it's like to have a mother. Mum died when she was two and only her elder sister, Emily, who's thirteen, has any real memory of her. Since then the girls have lived happily with Dad - the rather absent-minded Professor - and Aunt Cass. They've not really bothered about keeping the house tidy and things do get rather scruffy but it doesn't seem important until they're told that their father is bringing a girlfriend home. The girls are delighted. They want their father to be happy.

And - on the face of it - it does look as though their father has chosen well. Caroline is a businesswoman with her own employment agency and she's the sort of person who makes heads turn when she walks into a room. Bitsy (Caroline insists on calling her 'Flora' - and Flora really rather likes it) sees her as a role model. She's more willing to accommodate Caroline's wishes than Em who has a sticking point. You see, Aunt Cass is a vegetarian and that's how the girls have been brought up. They don't eat anything with a face - but Caroline thinks that Emily, particularly, should eat meat. Em is the tall, thin, willowy type and Caroline thinks that she doesn't have enough red blood cells.

The great thing about Jean Ure is that she touches on the topics which actually concern kids in the 9+ age group. When I picked this book I thought that I knew what it was going to be about: jealous step-parent or resentful kids, right? Wrong. It's a lot more subtle than that. You see, Caroline really does want to be a good stepmother to the girls, to the extent that she and Donald could quite justifiably have gone out on their own for a celebration meal, but she wanted them all to go - to be a family. She was genuinely concerned about their welfare - but she struggled with the ability to compromise, to see the whole food thing from the girls' point of view. And then there were the clothes...

Look, I'm many multiples of the target age group for this book, but I stayed up late (well, 'early', actually) because I needed to find out what happened. This isn't a manufactured story which no adult would really believe in - it's about how things genuinely are in families and that's what I love about Jean Ure. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Here at Bookbag Towers we're conscious that not everyone finds reading easy and if you have a child who needs extra help then Jean Ure can oblige here too - have a look at Star for a Day which is dyslexia friendly. We also appreciated Too Many Blooms (Flower Girls 1) by Catherine R Daly.

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Buy Jelly Baby by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jelly Baby by Jean Ure at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Jelly Baby by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jelly Baby by Jean Ure at Amazon.com.

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