Review of ‘Smooch and Rose’

Home » Review of ‘Smooch and Rose’

Written by Samantha Wheeler

Publisher: UQP

Age Range: middle primary – upper primary

Themes:   empowering, family, loss, change, friendships, bullying, power, sustainability, wildlife,  farming, development, habitat, koalas.

To add this book to your home or school library from Booktopia click here.


From Samantha Wheeler comes ‘Smooch and Rose’, an inspiring tale about one girl and her fight to make a difference for koalas. You can read a sample chapter of the story here.

‘Smooch and Rose’ is set in Redland Bay at the centre of the ‘development versus koala habitat’ debate, though it’s themes of caring for wildlife are universal. My grandparents had a chicken farm at Redland Bay and when I was younger I spent most weekends there having the most wonderful time. Possibly where my love of chook books comes from! The farm is still in the extended family and I love seeing photographs of it on Facebook.

The main character in ‘Smooch and Rose’, Rose, has lived with her gran since her parents died and they love their house and small strawberry farm with its resident koala, Smooch. But things change for the worse when Gran gets a letter from the bank. Does this mean they may have to sell the farm? Bulldozers and developers get mentioned and Rose realises that it is not just her home that is at stake, there is also Smooch to think of.

Rose launches herself into a campaign to preserve Smooch’s habitat and enlists the help of classmates, wildlife carers and local council members. But is one a one girl campaign enough to stop progress in Redland Bay?

Having experienced the Redland Bay strawberry farms myself, author Samantha Wheeler’s descriptions of small roadside strawberry stands transported me back to my own childhood spent eating enormous buckets of Redlands strawberries until I felt quite ill. Wheeler has created a wonderful sense of place for the reader, with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of her setting – you can almost taste the red strawberries.

This is a story that will empower younger readers and give them the confidence to make a difference in their world, and the world around them.

To add this book to your home or school library from Booktopia click here.

Follow it up in the home, classroom or library:

  • There are excellent teaching notes with links to the National Curriculum at the UQP website here. UQP is committed to producing excellent teachers notes and I am always so grateful for them!
  • Find Redland Bay on a map of Queensland. Using some of the websites listed below, locate and mark other areas where Koalas can be found.
  • Samantha Wheeler has included a section at the conclusion of the story with lots of facts about koalas, what to do if you find an injured koala and many websites including some that I have used with classes in the past:


Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, 'What to Read Next' or sign up for my FREE webinar, '3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever'.

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  1. Anonymous on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I think this book is perfect for children, I’ve read for Readers Cup and cried, but it truly is an amazing book. Great Job Samantha Wheeler!

  2. Anonymous on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I think this book is perfect for children ranging from a very large variety of kids like myself, I read this for a read and recall competition for Readers Cup and cried, but this is a truly amazing book. Hats off to Samantha Wheeler!

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