Alice-Miranda Takes the Lead by Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House, 2011. ISBN: 9781864718492.
Highly recommended for children ages 8 and up. Alice-Miranda is the most kind, considerate, genuine seven and a half year old anybody could wish to meet. On her return to boarding school, she is delighted to be reunited with her friends, teachers and the staff of the school, each of whom she appears to have changed in a positive way during the previous terms. Even the arrival of the dreadfully rude new student, Sloane Sykes, and her mother, September, has her trying to find the best in people. Talk of a witch living in the woods causes the children some concern, until Alice-Miranda gets left alone whilst out riding. She then becomes involved in a mystery which she endeavours to solve and bring things to rights.
With this having been my introduction to Alice-Miranda, I now wish to go and read the two preceding titles. As much as this little girl is too good to be true, she is an utterly loveable character, able to endear herself to all with whom she comes in contact. She proves to be totally unselfish, thoughtful and equally as engaging a character as was Pollyanna in my childhood reading. This series could be used as a class read aloud to even younger children, with a focus on giving others the benefit of the doubt, generosity of spirit, sharing with and over-looking the flaws in other people, thereby allowing them to be themselves. This is a most engaging and entertaining tale of mystery, friendship, loyalty and honesty.
Jo Schenkel