Renee Mihulka – Children's Book Reviews & Writer

Eliza Boom’s Diary: My Explosive Adventure

eliza boomOVERALL: 4 4 Stars

Concept:3.5 Stars
Characters:4.5 Stars
Plot:4 Stars
Writing:4 Stars


Emily Gale
Joelle Dreidemy
Buster Books


Description: This is the first book in the Eliza Boom’s Diary Series. Eliza Boom is the daughter of an inventor who makes gadgets for spies. Eliza wants to follow in her Dad’s footsteps but the only problem is her inventions have a tendency to blow up! Plus she is having a tough time at school with one of the girls. This is a cute little book along the lines of Diary of a Wimpy Kid but for a younger audience.

Concept: The book’s concept isn’t a new one. There are a lot of ‘diary’ type books out there and it is no fluke that more and more chapter books for younger children are containing more and more illustrations as we realise that visual literacy is important and that pictures help with the transition from picture books to chapter books. Not to mention they are super fun! What also isn’t new is the ‘spy’ rage we are currently going through, but what is a bit new is that this is a diary book for younger kids and also that the heroine is into science. Nonetheless, despite the concepts within this book not really being very ‘original’ they work.

Characters: Eliza Boon is an interesting, funny and likeable character. She is smart and what I particularly like is that she doesn’t give up! All the characters in this book have their own charm and some are not quite what they seem.

Plot: There are definitely a few little surprises in this plot. There is a mystery to solve, a crime to prevent and some inventions to create. Through all this there are friendships and social occasions to navigate. For a short book filled with pictures it certainly manages to cover a lot and it does it well.

Writing: I read a review by the author, Emily Gale, and in it she admitted that it had taken quite a few edits and some pressure from her own editor to reduce the writing and increase the pictures. I think that she made the right decision. The writing complements the pictures and vice versa and Gale manages to use appropriate language for a girl of Eliza’s age as well as make her funny and a bit quirky. It’s and entertaining and enjoyable read.

This is a great book for your emerging reader to read with you and later by themselves. The pictures and content make it fun and it has enough challenging words to expand their vocabulary. It will definitely appeal more to girls than boys, but maybe if you mention it’s about inventions and spies you can convince your boy to read it too. Boys should be encouraged to read more books with female protagonists.

Things to ask and discuss:

1) Talk about Eliza’s persistence. The way she hasn’t given up on making an invention that will work even after she has tried over 90 times. You could introduce the famous Edison quote here where he says “I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 ways how not to make a light bulb before I finally found a way that did” (the number of attempts seem to change, but the sentiment remains)

2) This is a good book to talk about first impressions and friendship. The contrast between Amy and Melanie. Ask why Eliza would even want to be friends with Melanie and go to her party?

Come on comment, you know you wanna.

Book Reviews and Writer