Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper is a hilarious chapter book from Australian children’s author, Sheryl Gwyther.

It’s the story of a very determined girl, Charlie who  loves growing and eating chillies and this year she has a very good chance of winning the Flaming Hot Chilli Competition.

Nobody else in Charlie’s family even likes chillies so this book is a great illustration to young readers that it’s okay to branch out and follow your own dreams.

Charlie is determined to take first prize in the competition but there’s a lot going against her. First she inadvertently almost poisons Dad’s boss with the Chilli. Then she somebody steals her chillies.

All that was left was a tiny chilli bud about the size of my fingernail.

When playing Mozart to her plant doesn’t work, Charlie is just about out of ideas to make her chilli grow.

Her sister, Suzie has a suggestion, but will it be enough to get Charlie’s chilli over the line? Because she now has only one chilli left, Charlie can’t even give it the all important taste test.

Everything seems to be going against her but Charlie refuses to give up.

I loved the humour in this book and Charlie is a great character and role model.  Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper has important themes for young readers including following your dreams and never giving up.

It’s also a great story about family and that it’s okay to be different.

Richard Hoit is a New Zealand based illustrator and his wonderful illustrations capture the humour and themes of the book.


Australian children’s author, Sheryl Gwyther spends a lot of time researching for her books and clearly, Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper is no exception.

For her dinosaur adventure, Secrets of Eromanga, Sheryl even went on a real fossil dig. Sheryl says she enjoys both the research and the writing process.

I’d been crazy about reading books and writing bits and pieces since I was little, but other things got in the way – school, jobs, travel, university, art school. Then one day I knew what I should be doing with my life … writing books for young people.

Sheryl is the author of a number of books and short stories for children. You can find out more about her at

Published by

Dee White

Dee White lives with her husband and two sons in a small rural country town which has more kangaroos than people. She has worked as an advertising copywriter and journalist and has had numerous career changes because until recently, writing wasn’t considered to be a proper job. Letters to Leonardo, her first novel with Walker Books Australia, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim.


  1. Congrats to your Dee for writing this indepth Book Review and presenting a Bio on Sheryl.
    And congrats to you Sheryl for creating such a delightful children’s book.

  2. A great review, Dee. It certainly is ok to be different to others in your family. Although I can’t eat chillies, I devoured this book.

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