Review Blog

Aug 07 2012

Violet Mackerel's personal space by Anna Branford

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Davis. Walker Books Australia, 2012. ISBN 9781921529207.
Highly recommended. Violet Mackerel continues to delight as she develops new theories and works her way through the latest good and not so good news.
Violet develops the 'Theory of Leaving Behind Small Things' as the family and Vincent pack up to leave their summer holiday beach house. This theory ensures that by leaving something small behind you also leave a tiny part of yourself and change a place forever.
On returning home dinner is accompanied by pink lemonade 'in proper wine glasses' and the announcement that Mum and Vincent have decided to get married. This is good news for all but Dylan who is then even more distressed by the not so good news that they will have to move to a larger house.
Violet works through her excitement as they prepare for a garden wedding, her anxiety about leaving and her worry about Dylan, who refuses to have anything to do with the wedding or house hunting and moves out into the back garden in Dad's old leaky tent.
Violet talks to Dylan early on the morning of the wedding and introduces him to her new theory which helps Dylan reconcile his desires to be with the family but not leave the comfort of the only home he has known.
Written in the present tense we experience the emotions and gentle philosophy of the ever thoughtful Violet. The ink and pencil drawings interspersed throughout the book enhance the story. The pictures of Dylan especially will help the younger readers understand his emotional state as he grapples with the huge changes to his family and personal space.
I highly recommend this book, especially for younger readers of chapter books, though it could be a support for older readers who are struggling with moving house.
Sue Keane

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