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Nova’s brother thinks she gets away with too much, until he finds out what she’s really planning. And it’s out of this world. Will he keep her secret?
Super Nova tells the story of the most powerful force in the universe – a little sister.
Veronica Bryan (verified owner) – 28 August 2019
I just received my copy of this fabulous book. I’ve been looking for a picture-book featuring a strong, capable female lead character. “Super Nova” ticks all the boxes – it’s light-hearted, engaging and the illustrations are a perfect match for the story-line. A great find.
Rhonda Bovill – 11 October 2019
When a young boy is blamed for his sister’s devious actions, he is exasperated. He must solve the mystery as soon as he can – why is Nova stealing things from the rest of the family? Where is everything going? Of course, Dad, Nan, and older brother Harry don’t believe him. Nova is surely innocent, she’d never do anything wrong, and he’s implicated himself by being at the scene of the crime! This leaves the protagonist to catch Nova in the act himself to shake off the blame, resulting in an action-packed and engaging narrative.
Super Nova has a very realistic sense of character voice and motivation throughout the text. With his little sarcastic comments such as “It’s never Nova’s fault”, we are given a great insight into the mind of the protagonist. This is blended through illustration with the boy’s body language and facial expressions, which are simply distinguishable and are clearly created by Rebecca Timmis. Furthermore, Timmis’ illustrations give a fantastic sense of place with drawings on the fridge, family photographs, and individual rooms full of myriad colours. This creates the homely feel of the atmosphere and makes the setting easy to relate to for families and young children.
What starts off as a tale of jealousy quickly transforms into an empowering feminist story. Everything Nova has stolen – Dad’s raspberry muffins, Nan’s wool, Harry’s chemistry kit – is all for a purpose. Nova isn’t being naughty because she’s a mischievous little girl. She is saving the family from a horde of green aliens, much to the protagonist’s horror! He is taken aback to see his little sister surrounded by their dangerous fangs and their strange forms. The change in tone is conveyed by Timmis through her use of dramatic bright green colour, and she cleverly foreshadows the appearance of aliens with a hidden alien to find on each page.
Nova successfully defeats the horde by luring them with Dad’s muffins, using Nan’s wool to trap them, and building a spaceship with Harry’s chemistry kit to send them towards the moon. While her brother would have been frozen in fear, Nova is more than capable in the face of danger. The illustrations depict Nova in a confident stance with a defiant expression on her face. She is determined and proud. Super Nova thus represents women in a powerful light, utilising Nova’s talents to divert from gender stereotypes and advocating for young girls to engage in science-based activities.
At the close of the story, the protagonist takes the blame for Nova being out of bed late and reconciles with his sister. Nova has single-handedly saved the whole family and is her own kind of unique superhero. He chooses to protect her secret, leaving everyone else fooled by Nova’s innocent persona. The protagonist is in complete awe of her talents and has found a new admiration for Nova – she is now Super Nova! This additionally subverts social expectations through the male protagonist not being the hero, which reinforces feminine power.
Super Nova is an entertaining and funny picture book that is recommended for young readers and would be a good book to read with children, especially young girls.
Alex Croft – 11 October 2019
Super Nova is a story of trust, creativity and the love between siblings with a clever twist. The unnamed protagonist believes his younger sister Nova is up to no good – ransacking the kitchen, tangling her Nan’s knitting and stealing her older brother’s chemistry set. She gets away with everything!
At first a tale of sibling rivalry, favouritism and suspicion, Super Nova soon unfolds into something much bigger as Nova fights to save her backyard, and indeed the world, from some rather scary aliens. This is an inspiring story for girls – as Nova, once doubted as a mischief maker, uses her powers of creativity, fast-thinking and bravery to defend her family without praise becoming a superhero in her brother’s eyes. In doing so, Canberra-based author Krys Saclier offers a new, exciting science-based story for younger readers, reminding them that too can save the day, and that science isn’t just for boys or older brothers, either.
Award-winning Australian children’s illustrator Rebecca Timmis creates warm, colourful spreads that make Saclier’s words come to life. In Super Nova, Timmins renders a charismatic family and their home instantly recognisable, without shying away from mess and personality – and cleverly foreshadows the alien invasion on each page. Super Nova is a wonderful debut from Saclier, and a celebration of young female characters everywhere.
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