Saturday, September 8, 2012

49. Violet Mackerel's Brilliant Plot - Anna Branford

Illustrated by Elanna Allen
2012 Atheneum (2010 original text)
103 pgs.
Goodreads Rating: 4.12
My rating:  5 (A real charmer!)

Violet Mackerel is 7; a precocious, clever 7, who is part of an interesting family.  Single-mom knits and sells her wares every Saturday at a sort of farmer's market, where her middle-school son, Dylan, teenage daughter, Nicola, and Violet accompany her for the day.  Dylan and Nicola, both trying to earn money to purchase something special, have figured out their own ways of doing so.  When Violet decides she want to purchase a lovely blue china bird, she must think "outside the box" to come up with her own way of earning money.

The font is very large, the book quite short, and the protagonist is 7.  However, the vocabulary tends to lean a bit older, so I'm going to encourage my fourth grade girls to try this one.  Theory, precisearchaeologist all show up in the first two or three pages.  My kindergarten granddaughter is reading short chapter books, but would probably need help with these concepts (though she'd love this book).

When I went looking for reviews of this book and information about the author and illustrator I discovered that the original book - written in 2010 and probably published in Australia - had an entirely different illustrator (Sarah Davis).  You can take a look at that cover and those great teaching ideas here.

From there, I discovered that Violet Mackerel has her own website with activities and fun ideas of things to do.  It's the Sarah Davis' Violet Mackerel, not the Elanna Allen Violet Mackerel that I just read. I also noted that they talk about thinking outside the "square," while in this newer, US edition, it's thinking outside the "box."  Check out this activity website here.

Read for Australia also has a lovely website for the book (find it here).

So now my interest was really piqued, so I looked to see if the author, Anna Branford, had a blog.  Of course she does!  And there have been THREE different editions, with THREE different illustration!  The UK illustrator is Sam Wilson.

Click here to go to Anna Branford's site.

1 comment:

anna said...

Hello Chris - I think yours might be the very first blog review for the US version of Violet Mackerel ever! It's the first one I've found anyway :). I hope that your kindergarten granddaughter and Violet become friends and that that they're exploring archaeology and theories together very soon. Thank you so much for such a lovely review!