by Tamsin Janu
reviewed by Sarah Custance
Tamsin Janu is the multi award winning author of the ‘Figgy’ books, most notably ‘Figgy in the World’ which received much critical acclaim.
In ‘Winston and the Wondrous Wooba Gymnastics Club’ Janu once again focuses on family, friends, and fighting for what you believe in but in a very different way and setting from the ‘Figgy’ books.
Eleven year old Winston is thrilled when his soon-to-be step-sister Macy and her dad Jim move into his mum’s house and join their small community of Wooba, and he’s positive that they will love the town as much as he does.
So when Macy turns up and declares her hatred of the town and its iconic ‘Big Bread’, Winston is thrown and confused.
Macy’s perpetual bad mood starts to make sense when Winston finds out that Macy had dreams of being an Olympic gymnast which appear to be over now that they live in a town without so much as a footy team let alone a gymnasium.
To cheer her up Winston and his friends form their very own gymnastics club and when disaster strikes a town landmark it may be up to the club to save the day.
The book has a real focus on family, community, dreams, positivity and the necessity to take a stand for things you believe in, no matter your age.
Despite the lack of action the book draws the reader in with its believable characters and setting. If you have driven through an Australian country town then you can easily imagine the town of Wooba. The situations, though not dire, are gripping and compelling through the characters and their reactions.
All up this was a fun and engaging book for young readers who want something that feels real and not outlandish. The cover image gives the book a feel for a much younger audience but it is more of a suitable read for the traditional middle grade readers.
Scholastic Australia 2019