Bella and Magda, stars of Chris Higgins’ Trouble Next Door series, are back for a new adventure and it’s certain to delight and satisfy their young readers. In this episode, it’s Bella’s first day at her new school and, in typical Bella fashion, she has everything sorted to get her and little brother Sid there on time and perfectly turned out. She’s reckoned without Magda though, who isn’t ready, and manages to spill her breakfast all over Bella on the way. There’s more trouble throughout the day for Bella, nearly all of it Magda-caused though Claudia Cleverley and her friend Hetty Snoop manage to upset things for her too. Yet though being caught up in the whirlwind of Magda’s life isn’t always a happy experience for Bella, it has its advantages – Magda’s cheeky confidence gets them to the front of the lunch queue every day for example, and extra treats from the dinner ladies, and being with her is always exciting. Readers will be so caught up in the story they’ll hardly notice how Bella’s confidence increases through her friendship with Magda. Skilfully written, and firmly grounded in children’s own experiences, this is easy to read, and full of characters who are hard to forget. It celebrates the best kinds of childhood experiences – friendship, the freedom to get into trouble and out of it, and growing independence.
Read our new interview with Chris Higgins.