Review Blog

Mar 23 2012

Violet Mackerel's natural habitat by Anna Branford

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Davis. Walker Books ISBN 9781921529191.
(Age 6-10) Recommended. Another in the award winning books about Violet Mackerel is a treat for readers. Bored while her mother has tea with a friend in a big food court, Violet lets her imagination roam when she sees a sparrow. She decides that the sparrow gets enough food in the court yard but probably needs something for its nest, so she unravels the thread on the hem of her skirt so that the bird can use it to line its nest. Then she comes up with the Theory of helping small things: ' If you do something to help a small thing, then that small thing might find a way of helping you', and sure enough the sparrow does help. When her sister Nicola has to do a project for Natural science she begins to learn about natural habits and where is the best place for animals and insects to live.
This is a delightful book that would be most useful when introducing a class to natural habitats and life cycles. Violet learns a valuable lesson when she finds a ladybird in the yarrow patch and puts it in a jar. When she helps Nicola make a chart showing the life cycle of a ladybird she discovers how long a ladybird is likely to live, as well as the life spans of other animals. St the end of the book the author includes detailed but easy instructions for keeping a ladybird in a jar, for an hour at the most, before releasing it to its natural habitat.
Not only is there a science theme in this book, with its vivid descriptions of life cycles and natural habitats, but helpfulness and cooperation are also featured strongly. Illustrations by Sarah Davis complement the story and bring the characters alive.
All the books in this series are well worth having in a library. Activities and downloads are available at the site for the series.
Pat Pledger

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