Hullabaloo over Fleur Ferris’ new book

By Lachlan Durling

FLEUR Ferris’ latest book is causing a real hullabaloo in primary schools around the nation as students sharpen their pencils and get to sketching.

As part of the launch of her book Nullaboo Hullabaloo, Fleur is calling on budding primary school artists to bring her characters to life.

With different competitions for children in prep to grade six, students can illustrate a character or scene from the book, with a shortlist of entries being displayed at the Foundry Arts Space in Echuca.

And Fleur said the competition had attracted the attention of schools far and wide.

‘‘There is currently about 1000 students participating, it’s a much bigger response than I expected,’’ she said.

‘‘I approached schools in the district first and then once I posted it on social media, I had responses from schools around Australia.’’

The eye-catching illustrations will then be shortlisted, displayed in the Foundry Arts Space and a winner from each year level will be decided, with a $50 prize for each winner.

Fleur said she is expecting some outstanding illustrations, making the judging process that bit harder.

‘‘It will be fascinating to see just what each student comes up with,’’ Fleur said.

The Moama author wrote Nullaboo Hullabaloo six years ago, after writing her first published novel Risk.

The 35,000-word fantasy — illustrated by Briony Stewart — tells the story of Gemma Hart and her family who live on a farm in Nullaboo inhabited by fairies. Gemma befriends a fairy called Janomi whose grandfather has been captured by the silver spiders.

Gemma agrees to help Janomi and keep the fairies’ existence a secret, but when the secret comes out, a media frenzy takes over Nullaboo. A secret government agency barges in to take control and suddenly the fairy colony is under an even bigger threat.

Gemma and her kooky family, school and resourceful neighbours must take matters into their own hands in an against-all-odds bid to save the last fairy colony on Earth.

All students whose work is shortlisted will be notified.

The exhibition of the shortlisted entrants begins on the book launch night, May 10 and will run for a week with the winners of each year level being announced that night.

For any schools interested in taking part, visit for more information and to contact Fleur.