Alice-Miranda in China by Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House, 2016. ISBN 9780857985200
(Age: Year 3+) Recommended. When Alice-Miranda and her friends depart on a school exchange to China, adventure, mystery and a small amount of mayhem ensue, especially with Ms Baldini as one of the chaperones. With their journey taking them from Hong Kong to Shanghai and Beijing, the students have the opportunity to experience everyday life, as they stay with the local families. With some mutual interests, the girls share in their passions of performing in an acrobatic troupe, shopping, eating the local cuisine and learning about cultural differences, while living in the homes of the various girls they meet. They see the different sides of life, with some staying in the home of a wealthy family and the others in a traditional hutong. As can be expected, they rise to these challenges in different ways.
From their initial meetings with the gymnast, Summer, the mystery begins to unfold and the girls, ably lead by Alice-Miranda, solve the riddles with which they are faced. True to form, Alice-Miranda proves herself to be a delightful guest, relishing the opportunities afforded her and, in good grace, accepting all that is on offer. Caprice, however, meets her match in the form of a spoilt little rich girl. Many characters learn a lesson, as the resolution is reached.
As with all of the other books in the series, this title is an engrossing read and Alice-Miranda, the girl who is everyone's best friend, is as endearing as ever. Independent female readers from year 3 and above will ensure that this title is never on the library shelf.
Jo Schenkel