Kid’s Book Review: Beauty and the Bin

Kid’s Book Review: Beauty and the Bin

About the Book and Author

Joanne O’Connell’s debut novel for readers aged 8-12 years is an original and amusing debut novel which includes themes that young readers will identify with such as discovering true friendships and coping with embarrassing families as well as being an inventor of beauty products! It is published by Pan Macmillan.

Laurie’s home-made beauty recipes are no secret. The secret is that her eco-warrior family source their ingredients from the bin (no joke!)

Laurie loves her family and she wants to join them in making the world a better place, one home-made bath bomb at a time. But right now, she doesn’t want to be fishing her food out the bin. She just wants to go for a hot chocolate with her friends after school and be a normal kid.

So when a competition comes to Silverdale High looking for the next best ‘Business with a difference’, and the most popular girl in school, wants to team up to sell Laurie’s lotions and potions, she can hardly believe her luck. But can she find success and popularity without losing sight of her true self?


Beauty and the Bin
Joanne O'Connell author

Beauty and the Bin is Joanne O’Connell’s first book for children.  Joanne is also a journalist whose inspiration for this book sprang from a year-long column she wrote for the Guardian called ‘Goodbye Supermarkets’, during which she met food waste campaigners, such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and eco-chef Tom Hunt, and presented a short video about taking her children foraging on a Scottish Island.

She has written for The Observer, The Times, The Daily Express, The Independent and various glossy magazines, and is the author of The Homemade Vegan, published in 2016. She occasionally appears on television and radio, most recently on BBC Breakfast and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She lives in the north west of England with her husband and two daughters, where she writes copy for food brands and teaches cookery in local schools.

Book Review

I definitely would recommend this book. It’s about friendship, family and saving the planet one step at a time

From the start I knew I would love this book as I love pampering myself with beauty products, plus my Mum calls me her mini eco-warrior!
I was hoping to get some eco beauty ideas, but I did not like the sound of using old lentils so I don’t think I will be getting all my beauty ingredients from the bin like Laurie!

Laurie is the main character and her family the Larksies were really funny even if they did embarrass her. The Larksies: hippies, food waste activists and March 4 Climate protestors – they were so loveable saving the planet and Laurie’s mum’s t-shirt ‘I’m Freegan Awesome!’ was hilariously funny! They were embarrassing to Laurie as they were different, they weren’t an ordinary family and believed in the 3 C’s that they stuck on the fridge: Connection, Compassion and Contribution rather than Cash, Chocolate and Conventional.

Laurie is my favourite character, but sometimes I think she tries too hard to be liked by the popular girls like Charley Keating-Sloss; who is all about the latest trends and the best trainers! Laurie has to realise if she wanted to be liked by the trendy girls and win the school competition, paired with Charley or be proud of her family and their activist ways, even if they were embarrassing – which would she choose?

Laurie has to decide if her dreams of creating beauty products from waste would be successful against the glamorous world of Instagram filters and expensive things. I know which one I would choose, but it takes time for Laurie to understand which is the most important.

The story is packed with funny incidents, especially when Laurie’s Skin Whisperer product ends up on the faces of the popular girls like lumps of cornflour mixed with greasy ketchup and a meringue pie launches at Charley’s face! I also loved the tweets and messages displayed in boxes throughout the book giving me a sense of what was trending and developing the changes in the story.

I definitely would recommend this book. It’s about friendship, family and saving the planet one step at a time, what Beauty in the Bin stands for. There are some fun beauty recipes too at the end of the book which I am going to try, like the Oaty Banana Face Mask and Laurie’s top tips to use food waste – would you try it too even from the bin?


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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Lhotse
  • Age: 10 years
  • Likes: The Mandalorian, His Dark Materials and crisps!
  • Dislikes: spider and sprouts
  • Favourite Book: The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Favourite Film: Star Wars
  • Favourite Song: Bellyache by Billie Eilish