Image: Martin Pettitt / Flickr
Image: Martin Pettitt / Flickr

Are we excited for ‘My Mum Tracy Beaker’?

As a child, I grew up on a diet of Jacqueline Wilson novels, with Tracy Beaker and her anti-social, dumping ground antics being a favourite. With the news of a Tracy Beaker sequel, in which she is a single parent having to provide for herself and her daughter, I am both excited and anxious.

The new novel, entitled My Mum Tracy Beaker, is set to be released in October this year. The novel will be narrated by Tracy’s daughter, Jess, and illustrated by Dame Jacqueline Wilson’s long-time collaborative illustrator, Nick Sharratt. The novel will be aimed at 7-11-year olds, the same age I was when I first encountered Tracy Beaker. However, Wilson has hinted that the novel will include jokes and references that will appeal to the original readers of the Beaker novels which a younger audience wouldn’t understand.

The new novel, entitled My Mum Tracy Beaker, is set to be released in October this year

Although Tracy Beaker was an iconic character, I’m apprehensive about bringing her back as an older character. The books and the subsequent TV show adaptations and spin-offs were entertaining, but I feel they belong to another decade. They were a huge part of my childhood, so the idea of reading about Tracy as she’s older fills me with dread. Beaker was a huge influence in my childhood, as an equally young character, her having a child is monumental and definitely suggests I grow in my own maturity.

Understandably, Jacqueline Wilson novels are targeted at young children and for an entire generation to grow up without knowing Tracy Beaker is tragic. She was teaching children my age to be adventurous and strong spirited. But, I feel the original novels stand the test of time and children at any age can pick up a Wilson book and still find themes that appeal to them and the year they were born. So surely there’s no need for a spinoff?

It will be interesting, however, to see how Tracy’s life has changed since she left the Dumping Ground and how she has become a fully-fledged adult. Does Tracy still have her sassy attitude? It’ll be very nice to read about Tracy as a good mother, looking after her daughter and doing the best she can, especially because of the character’s turbulent childhood. Wilson has stated that her inspiration for writing the new novel is to show that despite Tracy’s biological mother being absent, she herself would be a brilliant mother – something I am also sure of!

They were a huge part of my childhood, so the idea of reading about Tracy as she’s older fills me with dread 

This novel may also be brilliant for people my age who have a child. The novel will be focused on Tracy as a mother living in a cheap flat trying to make money to support herself. Many women and men, who read Wilson’s original Beaker novels, may also have a child. So in writing about Beaker’s life as a single parent, it could be helpful and inspiring for people in a similar situation. Additionally, the new novel could be shared with mothers and their children, so a new generation can grow up indulging in Jacqueline Wilson novels and her fabulous female protagonists.

The question remains, will I be reading it? Of course! I have my trepidations about reading it as I still view Tracy as a child, but if one of my favourite fictional characters can grow up, it means I must as well! The target audience will be children, so it will be a different tone entirely from the novels I’ve grown accustomed to. But I’m sure, knowing her original audience, Wilson will have included elements that will appeal to readers who are older. Hopefully, Tracy’s daughter, Jess, will share some of her mother’s strong personality and the book will start a new generation of Beaker’s adventurous characters.

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