Greenwillow Books
HarperCollins

July 2004

$15.95 AU

72p pb

ISBN: 978-0060571825

fp September 2001

Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart

Vera B Williams

from the book...

A funny book that makes you cry. A sad book that makes you laugh. A book about two sisters and their family that makes you wish you were part of it - and grateful that you are not. In short, this book is one surprise after another. The only thing that is not a surprise is that Vera B. Williams has created a wholly unforgettable, absolutely wonderful portrait of Amber, Essie and their world. Open the book. You will never be the same again.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A


Amber and Essie are two young sisters, who live with their mother after their father is sent to jail for fraud. This book is mainly told in third person and looks at the siblings’ experiences, from everyday things to more major events in their lives. This book is character driven and the strength and realism of the characters is what makes the book work.

Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart is aimed for children; it’s a short book, filled with illustrations of the characters. The verses of this book sometimes ignore grammar to keep it flowing. This book is a great read for young kids, with its identifiable main characters and enjoyable, if simplistic, storyline.

Liam, Year 10, Canberra, Australia


Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart is an illustrated verse novel written by Vera B. Williams. This book is about two sisters who are very good friends and they look after each other. Their dad was taken away by the police because he got fired and he had no money to feed Amber and Essie so he altered the value of his boss’ pay cheque and signed his boss’ signature. The story shows how Amber and Essie cope without their father and how they miss him.

I thought the book Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart was a very realistic book. It shows how a family can be affected by losing a family member. I give this book 8 out of 10. The characters in this story are very young so this book would be good for kids between 7 to 11 years old.

Dylan, Year 8, Canberra, Australia

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