7-9 years old
Written by Madonna and illustrated by Jeffrey Fulvimari (Puffin Callaway)
Am I really reviewing books by Madonna? With 12 chapter books and 6 picture books, Madonna has clearly earned the right to be called an author, yet I can only think of her as a ‘Material Girl’ who still manages to look unbelievably good in a leotard. (arm muscles aside). Madonna’s books about The English Roses have done well. With cute names, Grace, Nicole, Binah, Amy and Charlotte, the ‘five funky fashionable friends’ are schoolgirls in London who go to school in Hampstead and spend their time doing things like shopping, hanging out, cooking, having sleep overs and boy watching – you get the picture. The illustrations are gorgeous and raise the book to a designer level. Expect plenty of trendy references, like eating rhubarb muffins and doing yoga. All her books have fairly predictable happy endings, with a moral and a neat tie-up of all the loose ends. When the girls experience jealousy they are a bit mean, but all is swept away under the moral lesson they learn by the end. The lives of these girls feel like an invention, the kind of life many young readers aspire to, hence their success. Children enjoy her books. ‘Nuff said.