Review Blog

Dec 14 2016

The tales of Mrs Mancini by Natalie Jane Prior

cover image

Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780733335655
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Cats, Humour, Short stories, Friendship. Three short stories are contained in this book, each delightfully illustrated by Orsini, making the mouth water at the range of wonderful cakes in Mrs Mancini's shop.
The cat with her human friend, Filippina, watches out for the humans in the street where they live. Many come into the shop for regular treats: the twins have a meringue on their way home from school, Jack likes banana muffins, while Claudette and her brother Ziggy, share their eclairs.
But one day Mrs Mancini sees Ziggy get into a taxi, leaving his sister bereft. He doffs his cap for her to keep while he is away but a breeze catches it and it lands on the roof. It is up to Mrs Mancini to get it back for Claudette who is so lonely without her brother. The next story concerns the accident prone Jack, at home with his dad while mum is in hospital with the new baby. When Mrs Mancini finds out why Jack has a bruised knee and a bandage around his wrist, she decides to do something about the bullies. The third story shows the twins, usually inseparable, falling out over a minor rift. Mrs Mancini again saves the day, bringing the girls together again.
Each of the stories shares lessons about living together. Loneliness, grief, bullying, friendship, companionship and so one are dealt with in these short stories and could form the basis of discussions within the classroom or at home. Combined with the yummy illustrations, this will be a treat for all who read it.
Fran Knight

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