Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Jemima Small Versus the Universe
Tamsin Winter

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474927284

Jemima Small is funny and smart. She knows a lot of things. Like the fact that she's made of 206 bones, over 600 muscles and trillions of cells. What she doesn't know is how that can be true and yet she can still sometimes feel like nothing... Or how being made to join the school's "special" healthy lifestyle group - aka Fat Club - could feel any less special. But Jemima also knows that the biggest stars in the universe are the brightest. And maybe it's her time to shine...

Librarian's Book choice

Jemima Small Versus the Universe is a heart-warming novel. It made me really root for Jemima. She is a warm, kind and intelligent person. She has an amazing memory, works hard in class and enjoys memorising random facts. She lives near the sea with her Dad, Auntie and Brother Jasper.

It is when trying her swimsuit on for the summer and realising that she has outgrown it that Jemima becomes more body conscious. Jemima Small gets bullied at school for being big and of course her surname doesn't help matters. Lottie, in particular, is very unkind and Jemima fears that things can only get worse when she is selected to join a Healthy Lifestyle group (aka Fat Club). Can Jemima boost her self-esteem high enough so that she can compete on Brainiacs, her favourite TV show?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jemima Small Versus the Universe. I loved the family dynamic, the relationship with her brother and their sibling rivalry. The banter between Jemima and Jasper was very typical yet when Jemima needed support, Jasper was there to cheer her on - in French!

I would recommend this book to readers that enjoyed Wonder by R J Palacio or Big Bones by Laura Dockrill. It was told with a lot of humour and I really warmed to the characters within (apart from Lottie!) It is one of the best books about self-esteem and body image that I have read.

400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian