Bulls Eye Bella is told from the perspective of Bella Kerr, a 12 year old darts prodigy. Set against a game of high melodrama it explores the serious issues of discrimination and exclusion.
The larger than life characters of Blackbeard, her swashbuckling brother and her gold suited nemesis Frankie “Goldfinger” Phillips illuminate Bella’s rise to fame in the world of competitive darts. The extraordinary characters bring humour and hope to her family’s challenging circumstances.
The pace of the story is fast and you can feel the brow dripping tension in each match Bella plays. Whilst some of the characters in the book seem familiar caricatures from the world of darts, we get to know Bella through the challenges she faces. As the events unfold we explore her dreams, anxieties, frustration, fear and love for her family. James T Guthrie challenges outdated views and traditions through the resilience and determination of Bella and her family. This book would be the perfect springboard for discussion around discrimination young women continue to face.
The front cover and the chapter illustrations frame the score on a dartboard and boast the drama of the game “One girl, three darts and BIG TROUBLE.” There is no darts knowledge required to read this book. There is a helpful glossary of terms included and you quickly pick up the rules and the nuances of the game as the darts begin to fly.
After reading Bullseye Bella I felt very nostalgic about the darts games I played with my siblings in the garage and of the time watching darts on the TV with my Gran. I now, however have a greater understanding of the game and the skill of the players.
Title: Bullseye Bella
Author: James T. Guthrie
Date of Publication: February 2019
Ages: 9-13 years
Reviewer’s name: Susie Sumner, Deputy Principle
Reviewer’s School name: Holy Cross School, Miramar, Wellington
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
What’s the book’s opening sentence? "BULLSEYE!" yelled Blackbeard.
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