Juliet nearly a Vet is a fun new book series for young readers. Written by Australian author Rebecca Johnson, who has previously written best-selling non-fiction for kids with Steve Parish, these books speak to young people’s curiosity about the animal world and that natural tendency to daydream about future career possibilities. The series is pitched at the 8-10 year old girls market, but my girls (at 6 and 4) already love the storylines – and Miss 6 can read a lot of it with my help on the ‘big words’.
Juliet is a clever 10 year old with big dreams of following in her Mum’s footsteps and becoming a vet. Her Mum already lets her help out with the menagerie of creatures that come through the family surgery; she loves nothing better than observing surgery or discovering the nitty gritty about bodily processes! Juliet keeps comprehensive notes in her Vet Diary and maintains a vet kit (in her Dad’s old fishing tackle box) which comes in handy for minor ‘emergencies’ amongst neighbourhood animals. Her best friend and next-door-neighbour, Chelsea, comes along for the ride as Juliet hatches plans to get her closer to her career goals. In The Great Pet Plan, Juliet invites her whole class to drop their pets off at her house for a night of medical checkups and grooming! In At The Show, it’s horse training under the microscope as Juliet and Chelsea help a friend get a pony ready for the local show. Each story is humorous and educational, with the girls learning lessons about animal care as well as behaviour and social relationships.
The books are written in straight-forward language with occasional illustrations (by Kyla May) to help us picture the girls and their animal friends. The illustrations also give us snap shots of Juliet’s note book which break up the text a little and offer additional reading challenges. Each book concludes with a light hearted quiz – simultaneously offering education about the animal world and testing comprehension of the story.
The first two books are available now (as print or eBooks) and two more are scheduled for release this year. My Miss 6 found these books really inspiring. On a recent trip to the Queensland Museum’s dinosaur exhibition she insisted on creating a Dinosaur Diary and took notes throughout. I’m not sure there’s much of a future for dinosaur vets, but her attention to detail was admirable!
The Juliet nearly a Vet series is published by Penguin and I thank them kindly for my review copies.
This review will be added to the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013.