The Adventures of Jilly and June in Russia – Denise Drew

Welcome back everyone, this review is a follow up on last week’s review and will be the final one from my guest reviewer. 

I hope when you read these reviews that you remember writers all need to start somewhere and being able to provide feedback can help them make improvements. I’ve already seen other small authors improve from my feedback, and I hope these reviews will help Denise continue to grow and improve in the future to make even better stories for us to read our kids in the future.

In this story Jilly and June, a mother and daughter duo, seek out new experiences as they travel across the globe in their magic, flying house. This adventure sees their interest in Russia sparked after eating a warm bowl of borscht. Much of their journey revolves around the harsh weather conditions to reach their destination and their encounters in Moscow. Arriving in the centre of the Red Square, they make friends with traditional nesting doll makers, explore The Kremlin, take in the wonders of the Moscow Metro architecture and the acrobatic feats of the Cossack dance.

After reading The Adventures of Jilly and June in India, I found that their Russian adventure provided more thought into the cultural aspects that the pair were exploring. I liked to see June providing Jilly with a background on The Kremlin,and the Cossack dance to help her understand why they were important to Russian culture. This provides children reading this book more knowledge about the places Jilly and June were visiting, making it a fun way to learn about Russia.

What held this story back was the time spent on aspects that didn’t need to go into detail and other points that should have given more time. There were close to five pages describing the flight over to Russia and in addition to a number of pages describing the weather and how cold the setting was. There is a lot more to Russia than the winter season and this time could be better spent to explore more of what Moscow has to offer than discussing what clothes to wear or what equipment to keep on board the house. The part where Jilly and June are confronted by a crowd in front of their house also fell flat when it had the potential to add more excitement to this scene than it did.

While The Adventures of Jilly and June in Russia is an improvement on their Indian adventure, there is still a lot of work to be done to get the balance of culture, energy and wit in the right places to truly captivate a young audience. The ideas Drew is presenting hold a lot of promise and I am look forward to seeing a revision of her work.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the last two reviews on The Adventures of Jilly and June in Russia.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Denise Drew was born in Liverpool in 1970. She has raised her daughter, as a single parent, since her daughter was two years old. Never deterred by being a one parent family, Denise worked full time, provided a loving home and continued life in a strong and positive light.

As a small family, they were lucky enough to have holidays every year and this lead Denise to dream of writing adventure stories about her and her daughter travelling the world. Denise would say that she would love to pick up her house and take it on holiday with her, so they could have their home comforts. What an idea! A flying house. A magical house, with sails, that flies them to “wherever takes their fancy”.