Lizzy McNay LOVES fizzy drinks, in fact she loves them so much they make up much of her daily diet: “Soft drinks for breakfast, soft drinks for brunch, soft drinks for dinner, soft drinks for lunch.” She ignores parental urging to give up her fizzy habit and, despite feeling grotty and her expanding tummy, she continues guzzling at a ‘furious pace’.
Things come to a head when one day at school her teacher announces a cross-country run and firmly tells Lizzy ‘You don’t have a choice’ (good on ya Miss Bunn!). Off goes Lizzy in the race, fizzy drink in hand, when… uh-oh. Her tummy feels queasy, she has to dash to the loo…
And here is where the young readers will absolutely howl with laughter… all the fizz erupts ‘in a fart of such size it sets Lizzy in motion’. All the way to the moon in fact! Thank heavens for kindhearted classmates who determine to save Lizzy and bring her back to earth. Off they go in a fizz-powered rocket made by clever Max Martin, and they tow Lizzy home.
Has she learned her lesson? Is she tempted by a bottle of fizzy? Tempted yes, but wisely she instead puts it to use in Max’s machine, reiterating Dad’s earlier plea that “There are places to go, there are things to be seen.”
There is much to enjoy in this funny rhyming tale that will appeal immensely to youngsters – fart jokes, a heroic rescue and a happy ending are a sure way to delight early readers. Equally appealing are the bright and enticing sketched cartoon illustrations; full of action and fun, they draw the reader into Lizzy’s adventure. It is sure to be a hit, with many a request for another reading.
Fizzy Pop cleverly uses humour to introduce young children to the idea of making healthy food choices. There are other messages to pick up on too; kindness and helping others even when they may not have been very nice, and getting off the screen and outside adventuring – Lizzy definitely looks much happier ‘venturing forth’ in the flying machine at the end (sans fizzy of course).
Emma and Kate have co-produced a great book that shows how to successfully get a message across without moralising or talking down to your young audience. Their expertise with words and illustrations has clearly been put to good use in this, their first collaboration. Fizzy Pop is Emma’s second picture book, following Stan the Van Man which won the Storylines Joy Cowley Award for 2014.
Reviewed by Vanessa Hatley-Owen
by Emma Vere-Jones, illustrated by Kate Snushall
Bookhead Press 2016